May 18, 2021 9:23:31 am
The internal feud within the Punjab Congress reached a new low on Monday after Jalandhar Cantonment legislator Pargat Singh alleged that he had received a threatening call from Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s political secretary Capt Sandeep Singh Sandhu.
Pargat has been vociferous in his criticism of the Chief Minister, especially over the botched up investigation into the Behbal Kalan and Kot Kapura firing cases. Addressing a press conference in Chandigarh on Monday, Pargat said, “He (Capt Sandhu) called me at around 11 pm on Thursday and gave me CM’s message that a dossier was ready against me and an investigation will be started. I told him to convey to the CM that they should assign an officer, who will be strong enough to handle the probe. I called Capt Sandhu again a day later and asked him if he has conveyed the message to the CM.
“This amounts to arm-twisting. I have only raised issues confronting the state. I have never gone to the CM seeking a sand mine. I will not stop. If I raise these issues, it does not mean I will be threatened,” the former Olympian said, adding that he had informed PCC chief Sunil Jakhar about the threatening call.
The Jalandhar Cantonment legislator’s allegations came two days after reports emerged of a vigilance probe being initiated against Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu – Pargat and Sindhu are said to be very close.
Hitting out at the probe against Sidhu, Pargat claimed that there was little difference between the previous BJP-SAD government and the incumbent. “Both have been thinking alike,” he said.
He also claimed that Amarinder’s adviser B I S Chahal was the “defacto DGP”.
Bajwa stands by Pargat, Sidhu
Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Partap Singh Bajwa on Monday came out in support of Pargat and Sidhu, condemning the vigilance probe against the latter and the threatening phone call to the former. “I advise the Chief Minister to not play with fire by targeting own party men as this fire will engulf everyone,” Bajwa said.
Saying that a difference of opinion is a democratic right, Bajwa called on the CM to clarify whether the alleged threatening call was made at his instance. “I want to tell him that your name has been dragged. Someone threatened a MLA by invoking your name. You should clarify it. If it has been done at your instance, whoever has advised you to do this, he is not your well-wisher. Otherwise, you should go public and deny it,” the MP said.
On dossiers being prepared on party leaders, Bajwa said, “It is sad that the government has started picking on its own people rather than opening files of those who were responsible for the mafia rule in the state.”
Cabinet minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu also came out in support of Pargat, saying, “It is wrong to threaten anyone. Moreover Pargat is a man of national fame. He has impeccable reputation and is a clean man. He has not held any official post. He is a youth icon.”
PCC chief denies Pargat claims
PCC chief Jakhar later issued a statement, saying that he had spoken to Capt Sandhu, who denied having made any such call to Pargat.
Calling Pargat a “veteran sports star” and “ the role model of the youth”, Jakhar said that the party respects his sentiments. The main agenda of the party at present was to save the people from Covid resurge and to punish the perpetrators of sacrilege incidents that happened in the previous govt regime, he added.
Jakhar said that the Congress party never indulged in vendetta politics . It was the principle of the party to not use the constitutional institutions for personal interests or to settle scores and it was unthinkable to do so against its own MLA.
“In fact there was no truth in these rumours as Capt Sandeep Sandhu himself had made it clear that he never made any threatening phone call to Pargat Singh,” he said.
The PCC chief also denied all reports of a vigilance probe being initiated against Sidhu.
Jakhar said the Congress stands with its people in the pandemic crisis and its aim was to work with the government collectively to help the affected people, besides bringing culprits of the sacrilege incident to book by completing the probe timely.
He said “mischievously cooked up rumours” were being spread to divert attention from these two issues but there was no truth in the talks on vigilance probe against Congress leaders.
Jakhar changes WhatsApp DP
Jakhar changing his display picture (DP) on his WhatsApp became a talking point in the Congress on Monday. Jakhar, who had earlier launched the campaign for next year’s Assembly polls, had used a photo with the slogan ‘Captain for 2022’, and continued to use the same picture even after the municipal corporation elections.
However, Jakhar changed his DP on Monday, replacing it with that of a campaign launched by senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi against exporting of vaccines by the Government of India.
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