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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Punjab: AAP left red-faced after senior party functionary calls former DGP Saini a ‘national hero’

Deepak Bajpai's support for Sumedh Saini comes at a time when the entire senior leadership of AAP in Punjab has been demanding the arrest of the former DGP for the Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura police firing incidents.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
Updated: August 20, 2021 8:23:51 pm
AAP, Punjab aap, Sumedh Saini, capt amarinder singh, punjab cm, indian express, indian express news, pun jab former DGP, punjab newsDeepak Bajpai's statements in support of the former DGP, Sumedh Saini, became a source of embarrassment for the AAP. (File)

Senior AAM Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and former Rajasthan in-charge, Deepak Bajpai, on Friday, courted controversy by attacking Punjab Chief Minister, Captain Amarinder Singh, over former DGP Sumedh Saini’s arrest, who he said was a “national hero”.

Bajpai’s statements became a source of embarrassment for the party, which has been vociferously demanding the arrest of ex-DGP Saini and on Friday even blamed CM Capt Amarinder Singh, for “allowing safe passage” to Saini after his arrest.

Bajpai is considered an important member of the AAP hierarchy and apart from having been the state in-charge of Rajasthan, he has also been the national treasurer of the party and ex-officio member of the political affairs committee of the party. A former journalist, he has played an important role in media outreach in all AAP electoral campaigns.

In a series of tweets on Friday morning, Bajpai hit out at all those who were cheering at the arrest of Saini and called them “a******ers of Khalistanis”. “Capt Amarinder is trying every trick in the book in utter disregard to the high court to settle score with former DGP Saini. Saini is a hero who saved Punjab during terrorism days. A******ers of Khalistanis celebrated Saini’s arrest, but HC stood by a national hero. Salute,” Bajpai tweeted.

He went on to tweet that Saini’s car was blown up leaving all three occupants, except him, dead. “His house was burnt down by ultras. He is being hounded by CM Punjab. Whoever supports Capt in this act is a slave of terrorists. It’s Saini’s singlehanded fight against terrorism that Punjab is still part of India,” he tweeted.

Bajpai sudden support for Saini comes at a time when the entire senior leadership of AAP in Punjab has been demanding the arrest of the former DGP for the Behbal Kalan and Kotkapura police firing incidents, which took place in 2015 when he was the state DGP.

All AAP MLAs, led by the Leader of Opposition, Harpal Singh Cheema, have been categorically demanding that Saini be arrested. After he was ordered to be released late last night, AAP MLAs went on to issue statements accusing the CM of helping Saini get away and demanded the dismissal of Punjab Chief Secretary, Vini Mahajan, Advocate General, Atul Nanda, and Vigilance Bureau Chief Director, BK Uppal.

Contacted by The Indian Express, Bajpai refused to say anything about his tweets. “I do not want to make any statement at the moment,” he said. However, subsequently, Bajpai later tweeted, “Just to clarify, these tweets reflect only my view, not Aam Aadmi Party’s. I am the journalist who exposed tunnel in Burail Jail which was used by Jagtar Singh Hawara for escape. Saini had helped Chandigarh Police crack that case. I have my own understanding of Punjab.”

Reacting to his tweets, Leader of Opposition, Harpal Singh Cheema, too sought to distance himself, stating that Bajpai’s comments had nothing to do with the party and that these were his individual remarks. “He does not hold any official position right now. I am not aware of why he said all this,” said Cheema.

President of the Kisan Wing of AAP and Kotkapura MLA, Kultar Singh Sandhwan, who has been demanding the arrest of Saini vociferously, said,” Saini is no national hero. He is a butcher of the youth of Punjab. Bajpai has disrespected the High Court also by giving motives to the orders issued by it. Our party’s stand on Saini remains unchanged.”

Meanwhile, another AAP MLA, Baljinder Kaur, on Friday issued a statement claiming that the ruling Congress and the entire government machinery was working hard to save Sumedh Singh Saini. “Sumedh Singh Saini is being given a safe passage to escape by placing innumerable loopholes. The game is being played to fool the people of Punjab and it involves the Chief Minister who is the head of the home department, the Chief Secretary, Vini Mahajan, Vigilance Chief, BK Uppal, and Advocate General, Atul Nanda,” she said demanding the immediate dismissal of Mahajan, Uppal, and Nanda.

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