Third year in row, Capt Amarinder Singh gives Issru a miss, Badals too skip it this time

Divya Goyal
Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh addressing media persons during a press conference after Congress won 8 out of 13 Lok Sabha seats of Punjab, in Chandigarh on Thursday, May 23 2019. (Express Photo by Jasbir Malhi)

For the third consecutive year after becoming the chief minister in 2017, Captain Amarinder Singh failed to pay tributes to martyr Shaheed Karnail Singh at his native village Issru in Khanna, where an annual ceremony and political conferences are held on the Independence Day.

This year, even Badals skipped the programme and none from the family former CM Parkash Singh Badal his son and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal or daughter-in-law and Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal paid tributes to the martyr.

Every year on August 15, political conferences are held at Issru and tributes paid to Karnail Singh who died in Goa fighting for country s Independence.

In 2017 and 2018 too, Amarinder had failed to make it to the ceremony despite announcing the same through newspaper advertisements and had instead sent in cabinet ministers at the last minute.

However, in run up to 2017 Punjab Assembly polls, Amarinder in August 2016 had addressed the rally at Issru and paid tributes to the martyr. Targeting Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was then with the BJP, Amarinder had said, He is no God and won t be able to save AAP, which is a sinking ship. Later Sidhu joined Congress and went to become a minister in Amarinder s cabinet.

In 2017, he had sent cabinet minister Brahm Mohindra, backing out a day before the Issru conference.

In 2018 too he failed to pay tributes to the martyr and instead sent cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa to represent the Congress camp. However, Sukhbir Badal had then paid tributes to the martyr and also targeted Amarinder for missing the event.

Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) state president Bhagwant Mann too had targeted Amarinder and accused him of not valuing or respecting the martyr. Incidentally, Mann had skipped the ceremony in 2017, months after AAP won 20 seats in Punjab state polls. The local AAP leaders, however, had paid tributes to the martyr.

On Thursday, Congress camp was represented by cabinet minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu and SAD-BJP by its senior leaders Charanjit Singh Atwal and Prem Singh Chandumajra.

AAP camp was represented by Mann, who while addressing party conference said that to make India a country of martyrs dreams, more battles are required to be waged.

He said that earlier the country had to be freed from Britishers but now it has to be freed from black Britishers . He further said that Punjab does not have a drop of water to spare for other states and blamed SAD-BJP and Congress for current situation.

Meanwhile SAD spokesperson said that Sukhbir Badal could not make it to Issru this year as he was busy at Rakhra Punia political conferences at Baba Bakala in Amritsar.