FATEHGARH SAHIB: BJP chief Nitin Gadkari's troubles aren't over yet. After having rubbed Lalu Prasad and Mulayam Singh Yadav the wrong way, Gadkari and his colleagues on Friday repeatedly referred to the Sikh general, Baba Banda Singh Bahadur, as 'Banda Veer Bairagi.' The reference is something the Sikh community considers as a "deep seated conspiracy of RSS and BJP to discredit the Khalsa 'swaroop'. The BJP leaders, including Balbir Punj and Punjab cabinet minister Manoranjan Kalia addressed a gathering during the tercentenary celebrations of the Sirhind Fateh Diwas at Fatehgarh Sahib, about 50 km from Chandigarh. The celebrated Sikh general and his men had defeated the province of Sirhind, in May 1710 in what is considered as a major blow to the Mughals and then went on to establish the first, though short-lived, Khalsa Raj in the area. Interestingly, just before the BJP chief spoke, Akal Takht Jathedar, Giani Gurbachan Singh, had warned the community against "distortions in the history" showing Banda Singh Bahadur in bad light and present him in the 'bairagi (ascetic) 'swaroop' instead of the Amritdhari Sikh that he had become. Gadkari also erroneously mentioned that Banda Bahadur was "brought up in Maharashtra and studied there" while emphasizing that he himself came from the same state. However, according to Sikh history, Banda Bahadur spent his formative years in Kashmir. As embarrassed Akali leaders — BJP's alliance partners — avoided commenting on the issue, others minced no words in slamming the BJP leaders while condemning the Akalis' silence over the remarks.