April 28, 2021 2:23:41 am
Amid the row over HC quashing the SIT probe into the post-sacrilege police firing case, Congress MLAs Tuesday met Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and told him that the party “was losing the perception game” in the matter as people “believed that there was a quid pro quo between Akalis and the government”.
Amarinder has started meeting ruling party MLAs in groups of 15 each, after reports that the party rank and file was upset and blaming the government for botched up probe in Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan firing. He met two groups form Malwa, in two — pre-lunch and post-lunch — meetings on Tuesday.
Sources told The Indian Express that the MLAs “went all out” to tell the CM that it was not only the sacrilege issue but “people believed that there was a quid pro quo between the Akalis and the Congress government over the issues of failure of the government to rein in transport, drug and cable mafia and also cancellation of controversial Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)”.
“The MLAs nudged the CM that he will have to take action if he wants to break this perception, Otherwise it is a wasted case. Several of them told him that time will soon come when they will start facing protests in the villages,” a source said.
Amarinder had met a group of 15 MLAs from Malwa-I districts, including Ludhiana and Patiala, and another group of 15 from Moga, Ferozepur and Bathinda.
PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar, Advocate General Atul Nanda and DGP Dinkar Gupta were also present in both the meetings, which lasted for about four hours.
“The CM was told that several court cases are in our favour. We can turn the tide by taking action. The party will have to act fast lest it will face losses,” the source added.
One MLAs told the CM that former Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was also thriving on this perception against the CM. “The matter was raised that these issues should be snatched from him. Otherwise, he will continue to do so. And the perception will severely hit the party,” said the source.
Amarinder, it is learnt, was all ears, listening to MLAs patiently. “We told him that a common man does not understand any technicality. They just believe that Akalis ruined the state and Congress did nothing to punish them. This is the reality on the ground. We told him that action is the need of the hour. If we will keep sitting pretty, we will lose,” an MLA said on anonymity.
Those who were part of the meetings included Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, Darshan Brar, Kuljit Nagra, Randeep Nabha, Parminder Singh Pinki, Madan Lal Jalalpur, Kushaldeep Singh Kiki Dhillon, Kuldeep Vaid, Lakha Payal, Gurkirat Kotli and Hardyal Mann.
Amarinder will be meeting more party MLAs on Wednesday.
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