With opposition parties alleging rigging in elections to 22 zila parishads and 150 panchayat samitis in Punjab, former Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday said it was “brutal and broad daylight murder of democracy”.

He said that the wanton and widespread lawlessness and criminality witnessed on Wednesday should finally open the eyes of those who thought that his earlier warnings on the conspiracies for impending violence and civil war in Punjab were a mere “ruse.”

Badal said 19 September will be remembered as “one of the darkest days” for democracy in Punjab when the Congress made the state look like Bihar during the worst days of that state.

The former CM said that it was “extremely painful and regrettable” that the state election commission completely abdicated its constitutional responsibility on Wednesday. Both the state machinery and the state election commission functioned as extension counters of the Congress party during the entire poll process.

Badal said that not only the mammoth and unprecedented response of Punjabis to the SAD-BJP rally at Faridkot and earlier at Abohar but also its strong Punjabi and Panthic character had unnerved the Congress and its stooges.

“For these stooges hiding behind Panthic cloaks, yesterday was a repayment time for the favours which they are receiving from the Congress government. They carried out poll violence at the behest of the Congress, which is keeping them politically afloat for its ultimate anti- Sikh agenda,” Badal said.

The Congress is providing a political cover to the forces inimical to peace and communal harmony. “As in the eighties, this nexus is pushing Punjab into the jaws of violence,” the former CM said.

Badal said that the SAD is their prime target because ‘our party has always articulated the Sikh and the Punjab cause in a peaceful and democratic way.’

“At stake is peace and democracy in Punjab. The non-performance of the state government and its betrayal of the people of Punjab on the promises made to them by the CM Amarinder Singh by holding Gutka Sahib in hand had completely isolated the Congress from the people.

The Congress now is using its old card of dividing Punjabis and conspiring to push the brave Sikh community into a fratricidal civil war, Badal said. But, he said, the SAD is determined not only to expose the nexus and its conspiracies but also to save Punjab and the Sikhs from these evil designs”.