Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann on Sunday took a swipe at the opposition parties, calling them "cut from the same cloth", for their gathering in Jalandhar in support of the editor of a Punjabi daily who was under the vigilance scanner.
His remarks on Twitter drew reactions from opposition parties leaders Bikram Singh Majithia and Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Several leaders cutting across party lines had on June 1 gathered at the office of Punjabi newspaper 'Ajit' in Jalandhar to rally behind its editor-in-chief Barjinder Singh Hamdard who is under the vigilance bureau scanner over alleged misuse of funds in the construction of Rs 315-crore Jang-E-Azadi memorial in Jalandhar.
Mann in a tweet accused the opposition of causing communal strife and, without naming anyone, called their ancestors lackeys of General Dyer.
"When those who served meals to General Dyer, those who rolled tanks over religious institutions, those who committed desecration of Guru (Granth) Sahib, those who sparked conflict in the name of religion in the country … all of them are called 'Ikko thaali de chatte-batte'," Mann said in a tweet.
Majithia, tagging a screenshot of Mann's tweet, suggested Mann's remarks were due to a "Sunday celebration" with alcohol, without any further elaboration.
He also accused the AAP-led Punjab government of being responsible for the killing of singer Sidhu Moosewala by withdrawing his security, and also sending the state in a 45,000 crore debt.
Later in a statement, Mann said parties which gathered to lend support to Hamdard had "their hands drenched in the blood of Punjab and Punjabis." He alleged whenever these parties were in power they safeguarded interests of each other, but ever since the AAP government assumed the charge of office their "nefarious designs to loot the state in alternate terms have foiled." Shortly after his tweet, Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu responded to Mann on Twitter, saying, "those who make democracy a vigilance system at the behest of Delhi, those who run Punjab as pawns with remote control" were now indulging in "moral lecturing."
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