Thursday, Aug 21, 2003
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Defying the restrictions imposed by the Punjab Government, SAD and BJP workers marched towards the bridge over the river Beas for the programme, prompting police personnel to swing batons, lob teargas shells and fire in the air to bring the situation under control, police sources said.
The BJP MLA, Tikshan Sud, SP (Headquarters), R.K. Jaiswal, and the former Punjab Minister, Mohan Lal, were among the 60 people, besides the party activists injured in the pitched skirmish.
The Punjab Chief Minister, Amarinder Singh, and the BJP are at loggerheads over the inauguration of the bridge, which, Mr. Singh said, was constructed by his Government.
He told reporters in Patiala that he would not allow the Central leadership to inaugurate the bridge.
"The Centre is trying to encroach upon the rights of the State," the Chief Minister said, adding that he would inaugurate the bridge tomorrow.
Addressing a rally before moving towards the bridge, Mr. Khanna, Minister of State for External Affairs, claimed that the construction of the bridge was initiated on his behalf.
The film star-turned-politician said he had persuaded NABARD to advance a loan to the then Badal Government for the project. PTI
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