Ahead of Punjab polls, PM Modi hosts prominent Sikhs at his residence in Delhitext_fields
New Delhi: Just two days ahead of the polls in Punjab, PM Modi on Friday hosted a group of prominent Sikh community leaders at his residence in Delhi and highlighted the works done by his government for the community.
In what could be seen as attempt to woo the sikh community, the PM said he had always tried to implement the teachings of the Sikh gurus and recalled the sacrifices made by the Sikh community and religious leaders, mainly against the Mughals.
During the interaction, Modi said that India was hardly born in 1947 and noted that the country suffered so much oppression during the Emergency.
He also recalled his own days spent in Punjab while during the Emergency and said that he was underground at that time and how he used to wear a Sikh disguise to hide.
Mr. Modi in the interaction further said he wants to work for the community every day and regretted that the previous Congress dispensations lost opportunities to bring Sikhs' holy places such as Kartarpur Sahib, which is in Pakistan, into Indian territory.
"They could not reach an agreement to bring Kartarpur, which is six km away. I started talks through the diplomatic channel. This was such a holy task that with the blessings of Gurus, we did it. What we have done in such a short time, this would not have been possible without devotion," he added.
He also spoke about bringing back the Guru Granth Sahib from Afghanistan.
"I asked Hardeep Singh Puri to go to Afghanistan .. Sirsa (Manjinder Singh) had also gone. I told them that this is an opportunity of great service as Guru Granth sahib is a priceless gem for us," Modi said.
During the meal, the Prime Minister handed out plates to the Sikh leaders, saying: "I want to do seva today."
As he received a Siropa or robe of honour from the leaders, PM Modi said he had learnt a lot from Sikh Gurus and that he tried to follow their teachings.
The leaders also greeted the Prime Minister by wrapping saffron patkas or scarves around him; the PM was seen telling his staff not to let the cloth touch the ground.
One of the Sikh leaders told PM Modi that he was the "first PM" to try to reach out to every heart. "Modi-ji's heart is Sikhs' heart," he said.
"This is your home. Like you, I walked into this place, I will similarly walk to a gurudwara," PM Modi remarked.
The BJP is contesting the Punjab election in an alliance with former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's Punjab Lok Congress and the Akali Dal faction headed by Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.
Those at the meeting included Delhi Gurudwara Committee president Harmeet Singh Kalka, Baba Balbir Singh Sichewal, Mahant Karamjit Singh, Baba Joga Singh of Dera Baba Jang Singh and Sant Baba Mejor Singh Waa.