Claiming that the playbook used in Rajasthan by the Congress leaders against their own government is being replicated in Punjab, state party chief Sunil Jakhar Tuesday said he will write to AICC president Sonia Gandhi seeking “strict action” against the “brazen indiscipline” of Rajya Sabha MPs Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo.
Targeting their own party’s government in Punjab over the spurious liquor tragedy that has claimed 111 lives, Bajwa and Dullo Monday termed it a “clear cut failure” on part of state’s administration and petitioned Governor VP Singh Badnore for a probe by the CBI as well as the ED into the alleged “illegal” liquor trade.
Jakhar described the move as a “copy-paste job” of what happened in Rajasthan in January after the deaths of 107 infants over which then deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot had flayed his own government. “Had action been taken against Pilot then itself, what is happening today in Rajasthan today could have been avoided,” said Jakhar.
He said it was time to stem the rot and save the Congress from the “petty machinations” of the likes of Bajwa and Dullo, who have “no shame” in biting the hand that feeds them. “Ye jis thali mein khatey hain ussi mein chhed kartey hain (They have no shame in biting the hand that feeds them,” he said in a statement here.
He said he would urge Sonia Gandhi for “strict action” against the two MPs who were “disgracefully exploiting” a tragedy to “further” their own political ambitions and interests. Bajwa and Dullo, who do not even have the courage to face elections, are no asset to the party, he said adding such “back-stabbing” members should be shown the door before they can cause any serious damage.
Jakhar described the action of the two MPs, who approached the Governor on Monday to demand a CBI and Enforcement Department (ED) probe, as a manifestation of their “desperate desire to grab the high seat of power by hook or by crook.”
“How many times in all these years did they ask for expediting the CBI inquiry into the sacrilege cases (which has since been taken over by Punjab Police) or the ED probe into drugs, launched during the erstwhile SAD-BJP government?” he asked.
The two had not once raised any issue of Punjab’s interest at any forum worth mentioning, he said.
From Sutlej Yamuna Link canal to the grant for Punjab, GST refunds, Covid aid and the most recent anti-farmer ordinances, the two MPs had studiously chosen to “keep quiet” in the Upper House on every matter of importance to Punjab, he said.
Meanwhile, Bajwa claimed that he was forced to raise the issue with the Governor as he had not got any hearing from the CM.
“As a result of his conscious decision to ignore us and the liquor mafia, 117 innocent individuals were murdered in cold blood for the greed of a few. Would Jakhar have preferred had we ignored or glossed over these deaths in the name of party discipline as he has done for so long? I have not bartered away my conscience for a seat in a former Maharaja’s durbar. I will continue raising issues of such magnitude,” said Bajwa
The Rajya Sabha MP said that it would have been more appropriate for the CM to have visited the families of the deceased rather than being so critical of our actions.
“The CM had the arrogance and the audacity to publicly comment in a press conference that he does not read our communications and that they were not worthy of response,” he added.
Jakhar, however, said Bajwa and Dullo have been engaging in “anti-party” activities for quite some time by talking against their own party and targeting the Congress government in Punjab. Their attacks increased after Amarinder Singh announced his decision to contest the 2022 elections.
“Having probably seen the 2022 polls as their last chance to make it big in the corridors of power, the duo saw their hopes shattered and, out of sheer frustration, were knocking at all possible doors to sneak their way to the top echelons of power,” said Jakhar.
Jakhar claimed that the two MPs were surviving politically only due to the largesse of the Congress high command, which had nominated them to the Rajya Sabha since they were “scared” of contesting the Assembly or Parliamentary elections. He said Rahul Gandhi had helped install Bajwa as state Congress president, but his “betrayal” of Rahul’s and the party’s trust has “exposed his petty political ambitions”.
Bajwa, meanwhile, said he and Dullo “have no political design in doing what we must” to defend the people of Punjab. “We are neither power hungry nor frustrated. But as MPs, we cannot shun our responsibility and ignore public issues. We are loyalists of the Congress but not of leaders who are looting the state under the garb of welfare and good governance,” said Bajwa.
“Had Jakhar shown the courage to question the CM on his constant ignorance of these issues, lives may have been saved… The weak-kneed and spineless leadership shown by Jakhar has left the Congress workers in Punjab demoralised and disgruntled,” he said, adding, “I thought Captain Amarinder Singh alone was enough to cause harm to the interests of Punjab; sadly, now he has received much-needed help and support from Jakhar”.
He also offered to accompany Jakhar to any meeting with Sonia Gandhi to apprise her of the true administration of Punjab.
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