Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and SAD chief Sukhbir Badal today engaged themselves in a prolonged exchange of heated words on Twitter after Akali workers were booked for blocking roads and national highways. The Akalis were protesting against alleged attacks on party workers and registration of what they say were “false” cases against them. Both Singh and Badal took swipe at each other on their respective Twitter handles. And what followed was claims and counter claims. In a series of tweets Singh wrote: “Shocked at reaction to registration of cases against @Akali_Dal_ dharnas that caused immense inconvenience to people. Does he not know it’s against the law to block national highways? Or does he simply not care for the law?” “Blocking national highways does not just cause hardships to people, it also cuts off the strategic supply line of our armed forces in Kashmir and other areas, thus undermining our defence strength,” he wrote. He alleged that the Akali Dal, “despite their tall claims of being guardians of Sikh religion”, don’t care that blocking highways would obstruct pilgrims going to Sri Harmandir Sahib. “There’s a difference between a road & a national highway and between a symbolic protest & 24-hour siege. Nobody is denying @Akali_Dal_ its right to protest but is it fair to bring normal life of citizens to a standstill and subject them to miseries as you did?” Singh wrote.
Badal responded to Singh’s accusation on Twitter. “Your goons forced us to come on roads by beating, shooting and not allowing people to file nominations in municipal polls,” Badal said. Reminding Singh of the street protests he had organised, Badal said: “And please don’t try to be holier than thou. Posting pic of your supporters blocking national highway by stopping Lahore bus (sic). And here’s a pic of you blocking a road. Whom are you trying to fool? SAD will continue to protest for people’s rights.”
Singh defended his stand, saying, “Right to protest is indisputable in a democracy. But the way @Akali_Dal_ blocked the National Highway was not only illegal but against the interest of the people. Not the sign of a healthy opposition!” But Badal was less than amused. He continued: “Not letting people file nominations is murder of democracy akin to what Congress did in Emergency. SAD will expose you.”
Singh replied: “Stop perpetrating lies. If @Akali_Dal_ nominees had been stopped from filing nominations they would have grabbed the extra day given by EC to submit papers. Fact is nobody turned up, clearly exposing your blatant falsehoods.”
He also equated the Akali Dal with the Aam Aadmi Party. “It seems that @Akali_Dal_ has decided to go the @AamAadmiParty way when it comes to street politics. It seems @officeofssbadal has learnt no lessons from @ArvindKejriwal and his party’s poll routs,” Singh wrote on Twitter.