POLITICAL PARTIES in Punjab, including the ruling SAD-BJP combine, were assessing the possible impact of the Nabha jailbreak in which six prisoners escaped, on the upcoming Assembly election.
While Congress and AAP demanded the resignation of Home Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal for the “breakdown of law and order” in the state and alleged that the prisoners had been “deliberately” freed ahead of the election, the Shiromani Akali Dal was in damage control mode throughout Sunday over the incident that party seniors described as “shocking” and “an embarrassment”, while ally BJP expressed disappointment.
Quick off the blocks, Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh said he had already predicted “a violent election”, alleging that the Badal government had prepared “an army of gangsters to be used in elections”.
A few Akali leaders told The Indian Express that the jailbreak was an embarrassment to the party and the government. “We are putting up a brave face. But it does not look good on us. It is a failure. I heard an opponent saying it is an attempt at police raj to circumvent the Election Commission rule after code of conduct as we fear our cadres will move en masse to other parties. People are ready to believe what the opposition is feeding them,” said an Akali leader.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and state affairs in-charge Sanjay Singh demanded the home minister’s resignation. Journalist-turned-AAP leader Kanwar Sandhu said, “The home minister should resign.”