CM Badal's hollow claims of peaceful atmosphere in Punjab

Amid stalled industrialisation, a mounting drug problem, protests over lack of jobs, high inflation and poor law and order situation, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal sought to pride himself on the claim that his government had ensured peace and
harmony in the state despite unrest in neighbouring Jammu and Kashmir and the shared border with Pakistan.
When Badal family came under the scanner over molestation of minor girl

There was widespread outrage in May over the alleged molestation and death of a minor girl in a moving bus allegedly owned by the Badal family. The Badal family was under attack from all quarters and the incident created a political storm in the state.
The rise of Akal Takht and Sikh hardliners

Before the desecration incidents, the Akal Takht - the top temporal seat of Sikhs - gave pardon to Dera Sacha Sauda head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, accused of blasphemy for allegedly dressing up like Guru Gobind Singh some years ago.

As Sikhs reacted angrily to the pardon, the decision was seen as dictated by the Akalis, eyeing votes of Ram Rahim's followers. The Takht chiefs continued to defend the pardon, and it was only when Sikh anger showed no signs of abating that the Sikh high priests in an unprecedented move revoked the pardon.

To add to the embarrassment of the SGPC, the Panj Pyaras (the five beloved of Gurus) even summoned the Sikh high priests to clarify the pardon to the Dera head.
While they were suspended in return, the Panj Pyaras refused to sit back, directing the SGPC to terminate the services of the chiefs of all the five Takhts. As protests refused to let the Akalis to maintain hold, the Opposition sensed its chance. Senior Congress leaders such as Amarinder Singh, Partap Singh Bajwa as well as AAP's Punjab
convener Sucha Singh Chhotepur extended support.

Appointment of new Akal Takht

Sikh hardliners appointed Jagtar Singh Hawara, a convict in former chief minister Beant Singh's assassination case, the new 'Jathedar' of Akal Takht, replacing Gurbachan Singh.
Radicals Amrik Singh and Baljit Singh Daduwal were
appointed heads of Takht Keshgarh Sahib and Damdama Sahib, respectively. However, SGPC rejected the decision of 'Sarbat Khalsa', which was turned down by SAD as well. 'Sarbat Khalsa' also declared Lt Gen KS Brar and KPS Gill as 'tankhaiya' (guilty of religious misconduct).
Rahul Gandhi's Punjab visit
Rahul Gandhi visited families of the two Sikhs killed in police firing at Behbal Kalan in Faridkot. He also went to Badal family bastion Bathinda and met farmers' families and sent a message that the Congress is united in the state.
Whitefly attack and pesticide scam

Farmers were up in arms, blocking railway lines in the state as they demanded compensation for whitefly attack on cotton crop. The whitefly attack resulted in arrest of Agriculture director Mangal Sandhu for alleged spurious pesticide scandal.
Faced with 60 percent loss to cotton crop in the Malwa region, Punjab government cleared a Rs 600-crore compensation package for the affected farmers.
In the month of August, the BJP, which has been hitherto confronting its coalition partner and long-term ally SAD on terror links and drugs, was caught on the wrong foot with its leader getting booked in similar cases. State BJP chief Kamal Sharma, too, passed through rough times as one of his associates was booked in a drug case.
When LeT attack in Gurdaspur posed serious security threats

The month of July shocked the entire nation, as three militants disguised in Army fatigues and suspected to be members of Pakistan based Lashkar-e-Taiba sprayed bullets at a moving bus and then stormed Dinanagar police station in Gurdaspur district of the state before being killed after a
12-hour-long operation.
Bickering in AAP's Punjab unit

Amidst odds against it, AAP failed to set up base in the state. To quell rebellion in its Punjab unit, AAP expelled its state disciplinary committee chairman and state executive member Daljit Singh for allegedly engaging in anti-party activities.
Of its four MPs, the party also expelled Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Khalsa for anti-party activities. Punjab's drug problem remained a sore point between the alliance partners SAD and BJP as the latter alleged that the state had the highest drug abuse ratio, a charge vehemently denied by the former.

Education sector in Punjab

In another low in the education sector, some 80,278 of the 3,78,628 class tenth government-school students flunked in an English examination in the state. Satnam Singh from Barnala district brought much-needed cheer to the state when he became the first Indian basketball player to be drafted in the NBA league.

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