From jail to chair: Badal’s jibes do not spare Sukhbir, Majithia

It may be noted that at the 2013 NRI Sammelan, the CM had kicked up a row by asking if Majithia had been to jail.

Written by Anju Agnihotri Chaba | Jalandhar | Updated: February 6, 2014 3:42 pm
While praising the work being done by Sukhbir on the one hand, the CM said every father wants that his son should do great work and offer better services than his father and Sukhbir is doing that. While praising the work being done by Sukhbir on the one hand, the CM said every father wants that his son should do great work and offer better services than his father and Sukhbir is doing that.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, today took pot shots at his son and deputy chief minister, Sukhbir Singh, as well as his son’s brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia, at the concluding day of the two-day NRI Sammelan here.

While praising the work being done by Sukhbir on the one hand, the CM said every father wants that his son should do great work and offer better services than his father and Sukhbir is doing that. But, he added, he was “not talking about doing business or anything related to money but service to the state”. He went on to say that “in our times sewa (service)was of a different kind. Assi taan jailan waale haan (We are those who went to jails). Raaj vaale te Sukhbir te Majithiye hain (Sukhbir and Majithia are the ones who are ruling).”

He, however, reserved his sharpest satirical comments for SAD senior vice-president Balwant Singh Ramoowalia, who had been active in NRI affairs. “Dekho Ramoowalia vi baithe ne, enhaan ne taan saare swad laye; hun, Congress naal ral vi ral gaye unha to be gaffe le kay sade kol vi aa gaye, eh bade siane ne (See Ramoowalia is also sitting here. He has tasted everything, took favours from Congress and now had come to us).” It may be noted that Ramoowalia had merged his Lok Bhalai Party (LBP) with SAD before 2012 assembly elections.

All those named by him were present at the concluding function. “We fought to guard democratic values, not to rule; and there is hardly any jail in the country which was not shown to me by the Congress party,” said Badal adding that Akali Dal had done a lot but got less appreciation.

Badal’s sarcastic comments seemed to be the outcome of what is happening in the party after the allegations against Majithia. It may be noted that yesterday at Anandpur Sahib, Badal had publicly said that he would not be “retiring anytime soon”.

Badal asked NRIs to bring their children to India and make them study upto Class 12 here. “We will provide world class schools here so that they can remain in touch with their roots. The time is not far when your children will refuse to come to Punjab so it is your duty to bring them to Punjab now,” he said.

It may be noted that at the 2013 NRI Sammelan, the CM had kicked up a row by asking if Majithia had been to jail. “He got everything on a platter. I have spent 17 years in jails. We gave them (Majithia) the platter, now they want to take control (of the chair),” he had said.

Sukhbir also spoke on the occasion and asked NRIs to invest more and more. He talked of big things, including Punjab becoming power surplus and the overall development of the state.

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First Published on: January 12, 2014 5:40 am
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    Feb 12, 2014 at 2:18 pm
    The state government will look into the functioning of the NRI (non-resident Indian) Sabha, as its president, Jasbir Singh Gill, is alleged to have spent beyond limit and hired people without the chairman's mandatory sanction.Chairman Anurag Verma, who is also excise and taxation commissioner, has issued guidelines that bar the sabha president from withdrawing more than `20,000 from the official account for any reason except paying the ry, telephone and electricity bills. Even clause 7(e) of the sabha's consution states: "Officers and employees shall be appointed and removed by the chairman".Gill not only removed some of the senior employees, including executive director Khushi Ram and finance director SP Gulati, but also recruited new staff, including two receptionists and a media officer.Clause 7(f) of the sabha's consution says that the body will have an executive director to ist the president and the executive body. Gill removed the executive director within a couple of months after his joining and is charged with changing the authorised signatories for operating the organisation's bank account.HT found that on August 14, payment of Rs. 14.31 lakh was made from the account to ANR Motor for a luxury Toyota Innova car; and on July 30, Rs. 2.19 lakh was withdrawn to pay to MG Store. On August 13, Rs. 1.30 lakh was paid to ST Computers for installing surveillance camera in the sabha's office; and on July 23, Rs. 90,000 was paid for a lavish party thown to the NRIs at Hotel Redisson. For all of this withdrawal, no mandatory sanction was obtained from the chairman.Asked to specify reason, NRI Sabha president Gill said he was not bound to take anybody's permission for withdrawing money from the account. "Whatever payment I made is just for the development of the sabha and the NRIs," he said. Sensing that he had made a ber by speaking in haste, he made a call to the reporter, later, to amend his version. "I am bound by the chairman's guidelines definitely but whatever payment and recruitment I have made is according to the sabha's consution strictly," he said.He claimed that the financial powers had been given to him "verbally by NRI affairs minister Bikram Singh Majithia". Confronted, Majithia ruled out any authorisation. "How can I give these powers to anybody, that too verbally?," he said, adding: "If he (Gill) has done something wrong, he should be penalised."
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