Accompanied by Ministers in his government and Congress legislators, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh offered prayers at the Golden Temple and Durgiana Mandir here on Monday morning. Amarinder Singh was given a ‘siropa’ (a religious robe of honour) by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) at the Harmandir Sahib, the holiest of Sikh shrines. The Chief Minister was accompanied by his cabinet colleagues, including Amritsar-east legislator Navjot Singh Sidhu, and newly appointed Punjab Congress President Sunil Jakhar. Amarinder and other leaders later visited the Jallianwala Bagh, where hundreds of innocent men, women and children were massacred by British forces on April 13, 1919, and paid homage to the martyrs.
The Chief Minister then went to the famous Hindu shrine, Durgiana Mandir, and offered prayers. “We have all come here to offer prayers and thank the Almighty for taking Punjab out of the phase of terrorism and drugs,” Jakhar told the media after the visit. Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Singh Badal had taken a dig at Amarinder Singh for not being able to find time to visit Amritsar to offer prayers at the Golden Temple.
Amarinder Singh took oath as Chief Minister on March 16 after the Congress got a thumping majority – winning 77 seats in the 117-member assembly, in the polls held on February 4. The Congress returned to power in the state after a 10-year rule of the Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance government. Amarinder Singh, who had won the Amritsar Lok Sabha seat in the 2014 general election after defeating BJP’s Arun Jaitley (now the Union Finance and Defence Minister) in a high-profile election, had resigned the seat to protest against a Supreme Court ruling on the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal which went in favour of Haryana on the issue of river water sharing.