Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday called the decision of Akali Dal stalwart Parkash Singh Badal to return his Padma Vibhushan theatrics and wondered why he was even given the country’s second-highest civilian honour.
Mr Badal had returned his Padma Vibhushan award on Thursday in protest against the Centre’s new farm laws, over which thousands of Punjab farmers are now protesting at Delhi’s borders.
“I don’t know why Parkash Singh Badal got the Padma Vibhushan in the first place,” Captain Singh said in a statement which also attacked AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, calling him a “slimy fellow.”
The Punjab Chief Minister said Lt Gen Harbaksh Singh got the Padma Vibhushan for winning the 1965 war with Pakistan and mocked, “What war did Parkash Singh Badal fight or what sacrifice did he make for the community?”
Captain Singh claimed that the former chief minister is now saying he has made a big sacrifice by returning the award.
“Stop politicking on this,” he said. “This ”dramebaazi” (theatrics) might have worked 40 years ago but it does not work now.”
Earlier, the Aam Aadmi Party, the main opposition in Punjab, too had called Mr Badal’s gesture a “drama”.
Amarinder Singh said Mr Badal has been claiming all his life that he represents the interests of the farmers. “Then why did his party support the central ordinances after initially opposing them, and then did an about-turn and started publicly criticising the legislations,” he said.
He said as a member of the Union Cabinet Harsimrat Kaur Badal was very much a part of the meeting that passed the farm ordinances.
“Is she illiterate that she can’t read,” he asked, referring to the former Union minister and Mr Badal’s daughter-in-law who later quit the Narendra Modi Cabinet over the contentious farm laws.