Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath had a terse exchange over the creation of a new district in Punjab, which the saffron-robed Chief Minister of UP tweeted shows the Congress’s “divisive policy”.
Mr Singh, hours after the tweet by his UP counterpart, said in a statement Mr Adityanath’s comment was an “attempt to incite communal hatred in the peaceful state as part of the BJP’s divisive policies.”
Mr Singh on Friday announced Punjab’s newest and its 23rd district named Malerkotla, some 131 km from Chandigarh, after carving it out from Sangrur district.
“Happy to share that on the auspicious occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, my government has announced Malerkotla as the newest district in the state. The 23rd district holds huge historical significance. Have ordered to immediately locate a suitable site for the district administrative complex,” Mr Singh tweeted on Friday.
Sikhs across the globe reveres Sher Mohammed Khan, the former Nawab of Malerkotla, who raised his voice against the torture and bricking alive of the two sons of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh guru, by the Mughals.
The Punjab government’s move, however, was criticised by the UP Chief Minister. “Any distinction based on faith and religion is contrary to the spirit of India’s Constitution. At this time, the formation of Malerkotla (Punjab) is a reflection the divisive policy of the Congress,” Mr Adityanath tweeted in Hindi.
Responding to Mr Adityanath, the Punjab Chief Minister in the statement today said his UP counterpart must stay out of Punjab’s affairs, “which are in much better shape than those in UP under the divisive and destructive BJP government, which has been actively promoting communal discord in the state for the past over four years.”
“What does he (Mr Adityanath) know of Punjab’s ethos or the history of Malerkotla, whose relationship with Sikhism and its Gurus was known to every Punjabi? And what does he understand of the Indian Constitution, which is being brazenly trampled every day by his own government in UP?” Mr Amarinder said.
Malerkotla was established in 1454 by Sheikh Sadruddin-i-Jahan from Afghanistan, and subsequently the state of Malerkotla was established in 1657 by Bayazid Khan. It was later merged with other nearby princely states to create Patiala and East Punjab States Union or PEPSU. During reorganisation of states in 1956, the territory of the former state of Malerkotla became part of Punjab.
Mr Singh, who belongs to the former Patiala royals, recalled his cordial ties with the then Nawab of Malerkotla, whom he fondly called “chachaji”.