The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday charged the Congress with continuing the Akali halka in-charge system in the state, claiming that losing Congress candidates were throwing their weight around in district administrations. Several AAP MLAs, led by the Leader of Opposition H S Phoolka and the co-convenor Aman Arora, said that Congress candidates, who had lost elections, were busy in taking over local truck unions, sand mining and transporting business, adding that they were also going around inaugurating government buildings.
Talwandi Sabo MLA Baljinder Kaur said that Congress leaders in her constituency were going around announcing that they had got grants from the CM which they will use for public works, even though they had no authority to do so. “The losing candidates are also throwing their weight around in the municipal corporations and councils and are often found to be browbeating the office-bearers of these local bodies,” said Baljinder Kaur. Ropar MLA Amarjeet Singh accused the losing Congress candidate in his constituency of being involved ‘goonda tax’ being imposed on the sand being transported from Nurpur Bedi.
Maur MLA Jagdev Singh Kamalu raised the interference of Congress leaders in the functioning of truck unions in his constituency. “Only the colour of turbans and the party flags has changed, everything else is continuing the way it was during the previous Akali-BJP government,” said Arora. He raised the issue of the continuing farmer suicides, adding that there were no farm loan waivers in sight.
Attacking the government, Phoolka said: “Their own MLAs and ministers have opposed the decision to do away with red beacons and even their promise of not using helicopters has turned out to be false.” Both, Arora and Phoolka, appealed to the Congress, SAD and BJP to support the MLA Local Area development Fund Bill, 2017, which has been introduced as private members bill by AAP. They said that this bill would enable MLAs to undertake urgent development works in their constituency and it should be supported cutting across party lines.
‘Khaira still Chief Whip’
Asked about the replacement of Bholath MLA Sukhpal Khaira as Chief Whip, HS Phoolka asserted that Khaira would remain the Chief Whip of the party in the Vidhan Sabha. He said regardless of the resignation given by Khaira, party MLAs, who were like his brothers and sisters, would appeal to him to continue in the post. Phoolka said he was sure that Khaira will agree to the request.