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A Congress leader in Patiala has allegedly asked party workers to "sever" opponents if they indulge in any "wrongdoing" during upcoming panchayat polls, drawing sharp reaction from opposition Akali Dal and AAP which sought registration of an FIR against him. Harinderpal Singh Mann, who unsuccessfully contested the 2017 assembly polls from the Sanaur seat, during a function last week in Devigarh in Patiala also assured party workers that he would protect them. In a purported video of his that went viral on social media, Mann can be heard saying, "... I will one day distribute swords during panchayat elections (among party workers). "Do not let any wrongdoing take place. Come to me after severing them (opponents).
I will not allow anybody to touch you." However, when contacted today, Mann said he asked the members of panchayats of Sanour not to be intimidated by any "wrong acts of the opponents during the Panchayat polls" scheduled for later this year. "I was boosting their morale as they had been the victims of the previous SAD-BJP regime." Mann had joined the Congress in February 2016. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal today asked Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to direct the police to book Mann for allegedly inciting violence and instigating Congress workers to "kill Akali opponents". In a statement here, the SAD president termed Mann's remark as "shocking". "Mann also told Congress workers not to be afraid of the consequences of such acts as he was there to provide them safe shelter," Sukhbir said. "You should tell...if you have given permission to Mann to make this statement. If not, then a criminal case should be registered against him immediately. If this is not done, it will be presumed that he is misusing the authority of the CM's chair with your permission and backing," Sukhbir added. Main opposition party AAP also condemned the alleged statement of Mann and demanded the Congress throw him out of the party.
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