After former chief minister of Punjab Parkash Singh Badal decided to return his Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civilian award, to express his support for the ongoing farmers’ protest, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh called the move ‘theatrics’ and wondered why the Shiromani Akali Dal(SAD) chief was given the award in the first place.
Claiming that such ‘theatrics’ no longer worked in the politics, Singh questioned as to what sacrifice Badal made to have been awarded with such a prestigious honour.
“I don’t know why Parkash Singh Badal got Padma Vibhushan in the first place. What war did Parkash Singh Badal fight or what sacrifice did he make for the community? Stop politicking on this, these theatrics might have worked 40 years ago but they won’t work now,” Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh said.
I don’t know why Prakash Singh Badal got Padma Vibhushan in the first place. What war did Prakash Singh Badal fight or what sacrifice did he make for the community? Stop politicking on this, these theatrics might have worked 40 years ago but they won’t work now: Punjab CM. (4.12) pic.twitter.com/LKQxhTWwan— ANI (@ANI) December 4, 2020
Earlier on Thursday, Badal wrote a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, stating that he took the step to renounce his award in protest against the “shocking indifference and contempt” with which the central government has treated the “peaceful democratic agitation” of farmers against the three new agriculture bills.
“I owe everything to the farmers. I am who I am because of them. I see no point of holding on to the Padma Vibhushan honour if farmers are dishonoured. I am deeply anguished by the government’s betrayal of farmers on the three acts in question,” said Parkash Singh Badal in the letter.
Badal was awarded the Padma Vibhushan on 30 March 2015 by the then President of India Late Pranab Mukherjee.
Punjab CM slams Harsimrat Kaur Badal, the former Union Minister hits back
Singh also criticised former Union Minister and the daughter-in-law of Parkash Singh Badal, Harsimrat Kaur Badal. Singh 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,” Singh asked, referring to the former Union minister and Badal’s daughter-in-law who later quit the Narendra Modi Cabinet over the farm laws.
However, a fierce riposte came from Harsimrat Kaur, who slammed Captain Amarinder Singh for calling protesting farmers a “threat to national security”.
“Call me illiterate if that floats your boat, Captain Amarinder Singh, but I’m amused that you, despite being so ‘literate’, don’t know the difference between Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan. Never mind! But, calling our peacefully protesting Annadata (provider) a ‘threat to national security’ is highly shameful,” she said.
Call me illiterate if that floats your boat @capt_amarinder,but I’m amused that u despite being so ‘literate’ don’t know the diff between #PadmaBhushan & #PadmaVibhushan.Never mind! But calling our peacefully protesting Annadata a ‘threat to national security’ is highly shameful.— Harsimrat Kaur Badal (@HarsimratBadal_) December 4, 2020
After Parkash Singh Badal, award Wapsi returns in Punjab as Sahitya Akademi awardees give back their awards
Soon after Parkash Singh Badal returned his Padma Vibhushan, a flurry of Sahitya Akademi Awardees in Punjab followed the suit, giving back the honours awarded to them and mark their solidarity with the protesters. On Friday, Sirmour Shire Dr Mohanjit, Dr Jaswinder Singh and Punjabi playwright Swarajbir returned their awards.
“It is worth noting that earlier too a legion of Punjabi writers had strongly opposed against such attitude of the government by withdrawing the Academy Award. Today, when the Government of India, instead of accepting the legitimate demands of the farmers, is forcing them to agitate on the streets in the harsh winter, Punjabi writers are protesting at the national level by returning the honour,” the Central Punjabi Writers’ Association said in an official letter.