Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri launched a scathing attack against Congress leader Harish Rawat stating his ‘panj pyare’ remark reflects the complete ignorance of the Congress party towards Sikh history and faith.
"Comparing members of a political group of the party with our beloved 'Panj Pyare' by a senior Congress leader clearly shows the complete ignorance of the Congress party towards Sikh history and faith. I strongly condemn this discourtesy. "
For the uninitiated, Rawat, party in charge of the state stoked a controversy when he met Punjab Congress chief Sidhu along with working presidents Pawan Goel, Kuljit Singh Nagra, and Punjab Congress general secretary Pargat Singh and addressed the leaders as ‘Panj Pyares’ while speaking to the media.
His comments angered the community. Rawat's remarks invited backlash from the opposition Akali Dal and BJP, who expressed anger and said that he "hurt religious feelings."
After the controversy refuses to die down, Rawat took to his Facebook and apologized for his remarks, and promised to atone for the blunder by volunteering his services at a gurdwara.
“Sometimes while showing respect, you use words that are objectionable. I too made the mistake of using the term Punj Pyare for the Punjab chief (Sidhu) and his working presidents. I am a student of history and the Punj Pyara cannot be equated with anybody. I apologise for hurting sentiments. As penance, I will go to a gurdwara in my state and clean the complex with a broom," the Congress leader said.