'Talk of Camps Ominous': Punjab CM Has a Gift for SAD Chief as He Urges Him to Learn from History

Chandigarh: As the fierce debate and politics over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) continues to rage across the nation, senior Congress leader and Punjab Chief Minister Capt. (retired) Amarinder Singh decided to send Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal a copy of Adolf Hitler’s ‘Mein Kamph’ and urged the former deputy chief minister to “learn from history”.

The chief minister asked Badal to read Hitler’s autobiography “to understand the dangerous implications of the unconstitutional legislation passed by the central government, of which the Akalis are a part”.

On Tuesday, Badal had asked Singh to clarify if he was opposed to giving relief to persecuted Sikhs under the amended Citizenship Act.

A day later, the chief minister “questioned Badal’s logic in interpreting his criticism of SAD’s stand on the CAA as being ‘anti-Sikh’ or anti-Punjab”.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, Singh said, “Given the current attempts by the Centre to replicate Hitler’s agenda is India, it was important for the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leaders to read the former German chancellor’s autobiography before coming out with irrational reactions on the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The recent statements of various Akali leaders, including Sukhbir (Singh Badal), clearly exposed their ignorance on this sensitive issue, with grave repercussions for the nation”.

Saying that it was “unbecoming” of a political leader to support the Bill in both houses of Parliament and the Vidhan Sabha and oppose it on other platforms, he urged the SAD leader to read the book and decide “whether it’s country first or political expediency”.

In an open letter that was sent to Badal along with the book, Singh wrote, “Read the book, as one always learns from history. The world has changed and our television and other media are powerful, and certainly different to that of Germany in the Thirties under Joseph Goebbels. Nevertheless, the talks of camps and a national register to eliminate Muslim and Jewish communities are ominous”.

The chief minister also asked Sukbhir to explain how his demand for the Akalis to quit NDA over CAA amounted to "subservience" to the Gandhi family. “Or are you trying to say that the lakhs of people out on the streets to protest against CAA are doing so simply out of subservience to the Gandhi family,” he wrote.

Earlier, while reacting to Singh’s advice to the SAD to quit the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, Badal had urged Singh to not "dance to the tunes of the Gandhi family alone", saying such statements only exposed his "subservience" to that one family.

When asked about the SAD leader’s comment on Singh trying to save his chair, the chief minister said his position was secure. “But it seems you are worried about your wife Harsimrat (Kaur Badal)’s chair in the Union Cabinet and do not want her to lose that at any cost,” said Singh, adding that this could be the reason for SAD refusing to walk out of the NDA despite claiming to take a stand against the CAA.

Calling Badal’s remarks on CAA a blatant case of double standards, the chief minister said, “I fail to understand what clarification Sukhbir wants from me on this count? Can he point out a single instance or statement where I have opposed giving relief to persecuted Sikhs or, for that matter, to persecuted Hindus or Buddhists?”