The Opposition in Punjab Tuesday questioned Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi for travelling in a private jet to Delhi and took a jibe to his “aam aadmi” remark, saying his government was no different from that of Capt Amarinder Singh.
On Tuesday morning, Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu tweeted a photograph of himself with the CM, Deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and his aide Sumit Singh standing beside a private company owned Learjet 45 aircraft. “In line of duty,” Sidhu said in the tweet. The Congress leadership in Punjab had on an earlier occasion too used the nine-seater luxury aircraft to go to New Delhi for a meeting with the high command.
Slamming the Congress leaders, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) said, “After saying that they stand with the common man, INC leaders take private jets to travel just 250 km from Chandigarh to Delhi. Are there no normal flights or cars that can be used? Or is this chest-thumping aimed at the propagation of Gandhi family’s Delhi Darbar culture?”
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) accused the Congress government of splurging money on such jaunts while Finance Minister Manpreet Badal claims to have no money to spend on welfare schemes.
AAP state secretary Gagandeep Singh Chadha tweeted, “And then @MSBADAL says coffer are empty! Flying private jets at the cost of people’s hard earned money for a 250km distance & that too in no urgency, clears the intention of @INCPunjab. All this party wants is to enjoy the perks. One king gone another in making. God save Punjab.”
AAP MLA and the Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly, Harpal Singh Cheema, too said, “No one becomes a common man by saying it, only his deeds reveal the truth of his personality. The real faces of Channi and Sidhu-Randhawa, who were calling themselves poor common men just a day earlier, have been exposed”.
Cheema said the Congress could not give up the “royal habits” of Amarinder Singh. “Channi, Sidhu and Randhawa should clarify whether the chartered plane was rented from the exchequer of the Punjab government or from the exchequer of the Punjab Congress or by any corporate or mafia who has done a special favour,” he said.
Former CM Amarinder Singh had also come under fire from the Opposition for having used the state government helicopter too frequently. Amarinder rarely travelled across the state in a car and was more often than not seen taking the helicopter to meetings in New Delhi.
More recently, during the ongoing crisis within the Congress, the dispensation was criticised by the Opposition for putting the state government helicopter at the disposal of state Congress in-charge Harish Rawat. Rawat used the helicopter on at least two occasions when he was ferried to and from New Delhi to Chandigarh and from Dehradun.
Cheema also termed the Punjab government helicopter provided to Harish Rawat by the Punjab government under Channi, as also under Amarinder, as a “loot of the exchequer” and violation of rules.
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