Hours after a shoe was hurled at him during a poll campaign here, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said the incident proves beyond doubt that "his opponents have lost the game" and "want to scuttle" prospects of peaceful, free and fair poll.
"Here is clear proof that our opponents have conceded defeat in these elections and were now resorting to such disruptive tactics," the five time CM said.
However, Badal said "as father figure in the state," he would continue to walk the path of patience, peace and communal harmony for development and prosperity of Punjab.
A shoe was today hurled at Badal allegedly by 40-year-old Gurbachan Singh, a close relative of radical Sikh leader Amrik Singh Ajnala, during his campaign at Ratta Khera village.
The shoe first hit a security personnel and then touched Badal's turban. The accused, a resident of Jhurd Khera village near Abohar was soon nabbed.
"Behind such incidents are people who want to set Punjab on flames again and push the youth back into the jaws of bloodshed and confrontation, from which people of the state have emerged after unspeakable sacrifices," the 89-year-old Akali patriarch said.
These desperate elements have the backing of our political rivals, who are increasingly getting desperate, seeing all their tall-talks about the elections turning out to be mere daydream and that Punjab is set to vote SAD-BJP back for a third tenure, he claimed.
"The incident was just one more attempt by our opponents to deflect attention of the people of Punjab from the agenda of peace and massive all-round development being pursued vigorously by the SAD-BJP government over the past ten years," the Chief Minister said.
The person who indulged in today's incident is not even from Lambi (Badal's home constituency), and is closely related to our political opponents, who have no faith in the peaceful, democratic path, he alleged.
"Our opponents are scared to talk about peace and development as everyone can see the performance of the SAD-BJP government on peace, communal harmony and development fronts," he said, adding as a father figure, he will never be provoked or desisted from his path of service to the people.
"These people emerge like seasonal birds during elections but I have stayed amid people everyday. Nothing will stop me from following this path shown by the great Gurus," he said.
"Our faith and our commitment to serve the people is too strong to be shaken by such acts," Badal said, adding he had faced bigger challenges from elements backed by his rivals.
"I have always had faith in my people. And this will continue as long as I am alive," he said.
Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh, a bitter rival of the Badals, termed the incidents of a shoe being hurled at Parkash Singh Badal today and earlier, stone-pelting on Sukhbir Badal's convoy as "regrettable".
However, he claimed that it was the "pent-up anger of the people coming to the fore". "I urge the people to use the ballot to avenge themselves against the Badals for the atrocities unleashed on them over the past 10 years," Singh said.