Chandigarh: Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda today hit out at his Punjab counterpart Parkash Singh Badal who earlier in the day termed the Congress government's move to set up a separate committee for managing the Gurdwaras in the state "illegal and patently wrong".
"Whatever, we have done is completely legal and within the legal framework. Everything has been done within the rules," Hooda told reporters after chairing a meeting of the state cabinet.
Badal earlier today described the move of the Haryana government to set up a separate committee for managing the affairs of Sikh shrines as "illegal" and "patently wrong", saying it is a "desperate attempt" on the part of Congress to hand over the control of Gurdwaras to its "agents" in Haryana.
The Punjab Chief Minister also said that former prime minister Manmohan Singh also cautioned the Haryana Congress from doing so and that he had never allowed them to meddle in the religious affairs of Sikhs.
However, Hooda has maintained that he never had any discussion with Singh in the past over the issue.
Amritsar-based Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, the apex religious body of the Sikhs, has also slammed the Haryana government for its move.
Hooda said that while he has full respect for Badal and SGPC chief Avtar Singh Makkar, "they too should respect the sentiments of the Sikhs of Haryana, who have always wanted a separate body to run the affairs of their Gurdwaras."
Amid stiff opposition and later walkout staged by the opposition INLD and BJP MLAs, the Haryana Assembly here yesterday passed a bill paving the way for the formation of separate SGPC for the state.
The Opposition accused the Hooda government of rushing with the bill in the assembly yesterday, introducing it and getting it passed on the opening day of the monsoon session.
The Haryana Sikh Gurdwaras (Management) Bill, 2014, will now head for Haryana Governor Jagannath Pahadia's assent to make it a law.
When asked how soon that Governor' assent was expected, Hooda said, "Let it (the Bill) become an Act after the Governor's assent...I can't ask the Governor (to give his assent)."
Notably, Pahadia is completing his five-year term by the end of this month.
Meanwhile, a delegation of Haryana Sikhs called on Hooda here today to express their gratitude for passing the bill.