Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a number of prominent Sikhs at his residence on February 18 and highlighted the works done by his government for the community.
The meeting came two days before the Punjab Assembly polls, with the BJP going all out to woo the Sikh community as it seeks to put up a strong show in an alliance with former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's Punjab Lok Congress and the Akali Dal faction headed by Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa.
Later in tweets, Mr. Modi said these Sikh religious and community leaders are at the forefront of popularising Sikh culture and serving society.
He said, "I was humbled by the kind words from the distinguished members of the Sikh community on various efforts of the Central government. I consider it my honour that the respected Sikh Gurus have taken Seva from me and their blessings have enabled me to work for society." BJP leader Manjinder Singh Sirsa told PTI that Mr. Modi in the interaction 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.
At a press conference, Mr. Sirsa quoted Mr. Modi as saying that India could have got the territory after 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan if efforts were made.
Mr. Modi has often criticised the Congress for not taking measures to ensure that the Kartarpur Sahib did not fall in Pakistan when India was divided in 1947.
Sikhs have carried a certain pain because many commitments made to them were not fulfilled but the Modi government has done "historic" works, including opening the corridor to Kartarpur Sahib and taking the decision to commemorate the martyrdom of Guru Gobind Singh's sons, Mr. Sirsa said.
“The Sikh personalities who attended the meeting with Mr. Modi included Delhi Gurudwara Committee president Harmeet Singh Kalka, Padma Sri-awardee Baba Balbir Singh Sichewal, Mahant Karamjit Singh of Sewapanthi in Yamuna Nagar, Baba Joga Singh of Dera Baba Jang Singh in Karnal and Sant Baba Mejor Singh Waa of Mukhi Dera Baba Tara Singh Waa in Amritsar,” official sources said.
“Jathedar Baba Sahib Singh of Kar Sewa in Anandpur Sahib, Surinder Singh Namdhari Darbar of Bheni Sahib, Baba Jassa Singh of Shiromani Akali Budha Dal, Harbhajan Singh of Damdami Taksal and Giani Ranjit Singh, Jathedar, Takht Sri Patna Sahib also attended the meeting,” they said.
Following the meeting with the Prime Minister, they lauded his work for the community. Karamjit Singh quoted Mr. Modi as saying that "Sikhi" [attributes associated with Sikhs] and service, another quality identified with the community, is in his blood. This touched our hearts, he said, lauding various initiatives of the government for the community, including removal of GST on langars run by gurdwaras.
Mr. Kalka noted the SIT constituted by the government to act against those involved in anti-Sikh riots in 1984 and praised Mr. Modi.
The Prime Minister also posted a picture of his meeting with Uday Singh, spiritual leaders of Namdhari sect.