Waylaying Ministers at Gate No. 4

Union Home Minister Amit Shah just smiled at them with folded hands and moved on. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari stood for a minute and heard them out. Meet the Badals, who have come up with a novel way to protest in the Parliament complex, trying to grab the attention of top ministers and eyeballs of the media.

This is invariably the scene at Entry Gate No. 4 from where majority of the Union ministers enter the corridors of Parliament and it is also the gate where the media is stationed. The strategy is to get the attention of both and by the looks of it, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal, who was a Union minister in the Narendra Modi government, have championed it.

On Wednesday, when Union ministers Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh and Nitin Gadkari arrived, Sukhbir Singh Badal and his wife, MP Harsimrat Kaur, stood at the gate holding placards and demanding the release of Sikh prisoners languishing in prisons for many years.

Sukhbir Singh Badal and Harsimrat Kaur Badal lobby for the release of Sikh prisoners languishing in jails in front of Union minister Nitin Gadkari at Gate No 4 of Parliament. (News18)

Out of the NDA after quitting the alliance last year on the issue of farm laws and facing a quintessential crisis in Punjab regarding their political future after a second consecutive Assembly election loss, Badals seem to have decided that this is the best way to get the attention of the Union ministers and the media at the same time.

This isn’t the first time Badals have waylaid Union ministers. During the farmers’ agitation ahead of Punjab elections, they used to stand at the gate with wheat straws in hand to show solidarity with the farmers, demanding repeal of the three farm laws. That’s how they waylaid Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and that’s how they got embroiled in a verbal spat on the issue with Congress MP Ravneet Bittu too.

Sukhbir Singh Badal and Harsimrat Kaur Badal hold up placards for the release of Sikh prisoners languishing in jails as Union minister Amit Shah walks into Parliament. (News18)

Many believe that the Badals have realised that protesting at Entry Gate No 4 is more effective than standing at the Mahatma Gandhi statue which is mostly occupied by either the Congress or a group of anti-BJP political parties to stage protests.

Taking to social media, Sukhbir Badal wrote: “Staged dharna to remind GOI of its commitment to commute death sentence of Bhai Rajoana & release 8 Sikh detenues who had completed life sentences in 2019 on 550th Parkash Purab of Sri GuruNanakDev ji. Sikh community & Pbis at large are waiting for GOI to fulfil the commitment.”

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