A day after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh hosted PPCC president Sunil Jakhar and four other colleagues over luncheon to sort out Chief Secretary Vs Cabinet Ministers issues, Jakhar Thursday said the issue was far from being resolved.
Talking to The Indian Express, Jakhar said, “The issue stands. We had demanded that Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh should be removed for misbehaving with Cabinet Ministers. We put forward the demand even yesterday. The demand stands even today. We are looking at the CM. The decision has been left to him. We urge upon him to rein in the bureaucrats, many of whom are still having the hangover of SAD-BJP government.”
Jakhar added, “We told the CM that these bureaucrats were taking undue advantage of Captain Sahib’s leniency. They should know it is the Cabinet ministers who prepare a policy and the bureaucrats have to implement it.”
He said he was not saying all the bureaucrats are like that. There are others who have been doing tremendous work. “Look at the way 1.25 lakh metric tons of wheat was procured without any problems during COVID-19 spread. The way it was done is praiseworthy. The opposition could not find any issues in this. This is the way the work should be done. The CM made it clear to them that the procurement has to be done and every last grain has to be lifted. It was done. The officials did the work. The way the government has handled the COVID-19 situation is also commendable.”
Jakhar was among five Congress leaders, who were hosted by the CM on Wednesday. Besides him, Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, MLAs Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Pargat Singh and Sangat Singh Gilzian had gone to the CM’s residence. The CM had heard them out and backed the CS.
The ministers and several MLAs have been demanding Karan Avtar Singh’s removal from the top office of state government for his “impudence”. The issue dates back to ministers walking out of the CS’s meeting to protest against his “misbehaviour. “The ministers had in a subsequent Cabinet meeting declared that they would not attend any meeting with CS being part of it. But three ministers later attended a meeting.”
While ministers seem to have gone quiet on the issue, Jakhar stood his ground on Thursday when he said the issue was not over and he would keep raising it.
“What happened between the ministers and CS is not the real problem. It was just a symptom of the malaise. The bureaucracy is dyed in Akali colours. All this is a reflection of that. Our government is doing a good job. We brought in debt waiver. The state spent so much of money. Yet, people complain. The policy making should be the prerogative of the elected representatives.”
Jakhar has been a loyalist of Amarinder. But he has been raising voice against bureaucracy saying they were not giving their due to the elected representatives. Jakhar was the man behind rebellion against former PPCC president Partap Singh Bajwa when Jakhar was the CLP leader. He had got most of the MLAs to rally behind Amarinder, when he was out of reckoning with the party high command after the Congress lost two Assembly elections in a row, under Amarinder’s wings. Bajwa was handed the reins of Congress in the state but Jakhar sided with Amarinder. Finally, the party had to remove Bajwa a year before the 2017 Assembly election.
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