Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa on Tuesday called upon Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal to make his position clear on the alleged police patronage to illegal sand mining – a charge levelled by BJP’s Local Bodies Minister Anil Joshi.
“…The prices of sand and gravel have multiplied a hundred times. Sand, which used to be almost freely available, is now being sold at the rate of cement. The police department is with the deputy chief minister. Coming from the BJP, now he cannot take refuge in the argument of its being an allegation leveled by the Opposition. He owes an explanation to the people or say that Joshi, his cabinet colleague, is lying,” Bajwa said in a statement.
He added that the menace of drug addiction and the sky rocketing sand and gravel prices have emerged as the two biggest issues during Lok Sabha election campaign in Punjab and both could not proliferate without political patronage.
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“The police was the common thread. With Joshi coming out into the open to defend his party, the cat was now out of the bag… The BJP, stung by the humiliating defeat of Arun Jaitley from Amritsar mainly because of these two factors, has now hit back at the deputy chief minister, who had earlier said that the mining portfolio was being held by the BJP,” said Bajwa.