Phagwara, May 16 (PTI) Toeing a different line from his party leaders, Hoshiarpur BJP MP and Union minister Som Parkash on Sunday welcomed the creation of Malerkotla as the Punjab 23rd district and demanded that the same status be accorded to Phagwara too.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh had on Friday made the announcement, carving the state's only Muslim-majority town from Sangrur district.
It had drawn a sharp reaction from UP CM Yogi Adityanath and BJP national general secretary, who described the decision divisive and communal.
Reacting to the criticism, the Punjab CM had slammed Adityanath, terming it an attempt to incite 'communal hatred'.
In his tweets on Sunday, Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Som Parkash said, 'I congratulate people of Malerkotla and thank Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singhji for declaring Malerkotla as a district. It is a rich tribute to Nawab of Malerkotla Sher Mohammad Khan who protested the execution of the two Sahibzade (sons of Guru Gobind Singh).' 'Malerkotla is a symbol of communal harmony. Guru Gobind Singh appreciated Nawab Sher Mohammad Khan of Malerkotla for speaking against the execution of his sons by Muhghal governor,' said the Union minister, demanding that Pagwara, which falls in his constituency, be declared a new district.
'I request CM Punjab Shri Captain Amarinder ji to declare Phagwara as a district. This has been a long-standing demand of the people of Phagwara and all parties,' he said in another tweet.
Phagwara is cut off from its district headquarters Kapurthala. It is surrounded by two districts Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur and does not touch from any side its own district Kapurthala.
An all-party action committee had also launched an agitation some years ago, demanding the district status for Phagwara.
Currently, people are forced to cover around 90 km and cross traffic-congested Jalandhar to reach Kapurthala for official work. PTI CORR VSD RDK RDK