CALLING NABHA jailbreak “unfortunate”, the Punjab BJP on Sunday appreciated the steps taken by the state government even as many of its leaders expressed dissatisfaction over the law and order situation in private.
BJP state secretary Vineet Joshi said that while the incident has caused concern, the Punjab government has reacted with alacrity. “The Additional DGP of prisons has been suspended while the jail superintendent and deputy jail superintendent have been dismissed. An SIT has also been formed to nab the culprits,” he said, adding, “The government has formulated policies and rules, but if the lower officials do not follow them, then the government as a whole cannot be blamed.”
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The official defence of the SAD-BJP government notwithstanding, many BJP and RSS leaders have launched a scathing attack on the administration’s failure to control the rise in crime. “It is not understood what remedial steps have been taken by the state government in the past few months despite constant concerns having been expressed on the law and order situation by the senior BJP leadership to the chief minister as well as the deputy chief minister,” said an RSS leader.
The state BJP leadership has been particularly concerned over the escape of prisoners since it comes just two days after the Prime Minister’s visit when he addressed rallies in Bathinda and Anandpur Sahib. “The PM is scheduled to address some rallies in the run-up to the Assembly election. If the security situation is not up to the satisfaction of his security officials, then this may have an effect on his visits and participation in rallies. In fact, this might also have a bearing on the presence of other high-profile Cabinet ministers, who are scheduled to come and address gatherings,” said a BJP leader.
BJP and RSS leaders said that despite the murder of senior RSS leader Brigadier (retd) Jagdish Gagneja and instances where an RSS shakha was attacked and some peripheral Hindu organisation leaders were fired upon, the state government has not woken up to the security menace. “Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal keeps saying that Pakistan’s ISI is involved in these incidents and is trying to destabilise the nation. But what counter steps are being taken by the state government? We see nothing on the ground. Also, ministers are not raising their voice in as strong a manner as they should,” said a senior BJP leader.
However, in a display of dichotomy of opinion within the BJP itself, another leader said, “We understand that Brig. Gagneja’s killing was unfortunate. But what has the CBI achieved? What has its investigation revealed so far? It is clear that forces from across the border are involved in these attacks and hence the state government cannot be blamed.”
Murmurs of discontent could be heard in the BJP with several leaders expressing dissatisfaction. “We have expressed our disappointment to senior leaders. How could we as a partner escape responsibility? How should we wash the blot off our face that the opposition is directly holding the government responsible for letting its gangsters and militants on the loose just ahead of the election. We are aware of the huge anti-incumbency and reports that villagers would ban the entry of several Akalis in their respective villages after the code of conduct is implemented,” said a senior leader.
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