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Amarinder Singh, Yogi Adityanath in war of words after Punjab govt declares Malerkotla as district

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Chandigarh, May 15: Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday criticised his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath over his "inflammatory" tweet on the declaration of Malerkotla as the 23rd district of Punjab, terming it an attempt to incite "communal hatred" in the peaceful state.

Amarinder Singh

Contrasting the communal harmony in Punjab with the "divisiveness" being promoted by the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, Singh asked the former to stay out of his state''s affairs as they are in much better shape than those in UP.

"Any distinction on the basis of belief and religion is contrary to the basic spirit of the Constitution of India. Presently, the formation of Malerkotla (Punjab) is a reflection of the divisive policy of the Congress," Adityanath had tweeted earlier in Hindi.

The UP chief minister's tweet came a day after Singh announced the only Muslim majority town in Punjab to be the state''s 23rd district on the occasion of Eid.

"What does he (Yogi 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?" asked the Punjab chief minister, in a strong reaction to his UP counterpart''s tweet.

Mocking the UP chief minister''s comment, Singh said given the Yogi Adityanath government and the BJP''s track record of spreading "communal hate", such a remark was utterly ridiculous, apart from being totally unwarranted and uncalled for.

"The whole world knows of the communally divisive policies of the BJP, and particularly the Yogi Adityanath government in UP," he said in a statement here.

Pointing to the "spate of changes in names" of various UP cities, including Mughal Sarai to Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyay Nagar, Allahabad as Prayagraj and Faizabad as Ayodhya, he dubbed it an "attempt by the Yogi government to rewrite history", which the peace-loving people of India will never condone.

Citing media reports, Singh recalled that UP was the first state in the country to approve 'love jihad' laws, and Yogi Adiyanath''s "open hatred" for Taj Mahal (which he sees as a legacy of the Mughals) has been the subject matter of criticism in international press.

In fact, the UP chief minister is reportedly the founder of Hindu Yuva Vahini, an organisation that was responsible for starting cow vigilantism, which led to lynching of Muslims in his own state, Singh pointed out.

It was obvious that the tweet of the UP government head on Malerkotla was nothing but a provocative gesture aimed at creating "conflict" among the communities living in perfect harmony in Punjab, the chief Minister said.

He termed it a "conspiracy on the part of the BJP to spread disharmony" in Punjab ahead of the assembly elections, which are just months away.

"But the UP chief minister seems to have forgotten that his own state is also going to the polls at the same time, and if the recent Panchayat poll results are any indication, the BJP is in for a complete and shocking rout," he quipped.

Adityanath should focus his energies on saving his own state, where the COVID situation is spirally out of control, with bodies of the victims of the pandemic being found dumped in rivers, thus depriving them of even the dignity of a decent cremation/burial, Singh said.

"A chief minister who cannot protect even the basic human rights of his state''s people and allows them to be treated with such shocking disrespect has no moral right to continue in office, leave alone comment on the functioning of another state government," the Punjab chief minister added.

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