Politics News

‘Tum Salamat Raho Qayamat Tak…’: Punjab CM Expresses Poetic Regret Over PM’s Security Lapse Incident

In the Covid-19 review meeting with chief ministers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a note of regret and prayer for his long life from Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi. Referring to the prime minister’s recent Punjab visit, where he faced a security lapse and had to return suddenly, Channi said in Hindi, “We respect you. You came to Punjab and we regret what happened during that visit. I only want to recite a couplet for you. ‘Tum salamat raho qayamat tak, aur khuda karey ki qayamat na ho.’ (May you be safe until Judgment Day, and I pray to God that there be no Judgment Day)”

Channi did not directly refer to a security lapse; he only spoke of “what happened during your visit”, without going into specifics of the PM being held up on a road blockaded by farmers protesting near Ferozepur on January 5.

Prime Minister Modi was in Punjab to dedicate projects worth Rs 42,000 crore and landed in Bathinda from where he was scheduled to fly to Ferozepur for a rally. However, bad weather forced a change in plans and PM Modi decided to cover the 100 km distance by road – a two-hour drive. Just 10 km ahead of the venue, his cavalcade was met by protesting farmers, keeping the convoy along with the PM waiting on the bridge for 20 minutes.

Before the PM-CM meet, Channi has almost every day since then said that there was no security lapse, and that the PM returned “because the planned BJP rally in Ferozepur did not draw any crowds”. Channi did, however, add every time that had there been a threat to the PM’s life “I would even take a bullet to my chest to protect him”.

The Punjab CM has been firm on his interpretation of the incident by underlining that “no one attacked or even got close to the PM as the protest was a kilometre ahead”. In fact, there is footage of purported BJP workers on the other side of the road, close to PM’s convoy. These BJP supporters were reportedly going to Ferozepur for the rally, but were held up due to the farmers’ protest as well.

As for the couplet he used at the meeting, Channi has been using it in interviews ever since the incident to stress that he wishes well for Modi even as BJP leaders and allies have gone to the extent of alleging a conspiracy and demanding the dismissal of the Channi-led government.

The PM, on the other hand, had reportedly told officials at Bathinda airport before a taking flight out that they should “thank your CM that I am returning alive”.

A Supreme Court-monitored probe is underway into the incident. The security lapse has become a major point of debate in Punjab’s political landscape ahead of the assembly elections scheduled for February 14.

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