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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Punjab: All-party meet on extension of BSF jurisdiction to start shortly; Congress, AAP & SAD to join, BJP to boycott

Sources said that the government has sent invites to Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, SAD chief Sukhbir Badal, AAP Punjab chief Bhagwant Mann and BJP state president Ashwani Sharma.

Written by Kanchan Vasudev | Chandigarh |
October 25, 2021 12:16:54 pm
The meeting has been called by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. (File Photo)

Days after the Centre enhanced the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi has called an all-party meeting to discuss the issue on Monday. The meeting is set to start shortly.

The government will act on the decision taken at the all-party meeting and subsequently take up the issue with the Centre. Channi met a few Cabinet ministers at Punjab Bhawan on Sunday and decided to hold the meeting today. While all major political parties in the state will be a part of the meet, the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) will be boycotting it.

Ashwani Sharma of the BJP tweeted to say that the BSF decision was uniform for all border states. He stated that drugs were making way into the state and reaching almost every household and terrorist activities were on the rise. “The decision was taken on that account. Why is the Congress government not holding an all-party meeting on the issue of drugs and unemployment?” he asked.

All other political parties in Punjab, including the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), had opposed the move of the Centre for enhancing the jurisdiction of BSF to up to 50 kilometres inside the international border, calling it an infringement on the federalism and state’s rights.

This would be the first all-party meeting on the Centre’s decision to be held under the chairmanship of Channi.

Sources said that the government has sent invites to Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, SAD chief Sukhbir Badal, AAP Punjab chief Bhagwant Mann and BJP state president Ashwani Sharma.

Sources close to Sidhu said he would be participating in the meeting. Dr Daljit Singh Cheema and Prem Singh Chandumajra from SAD have been chosen by the party to attend the meet.

Bhagwant Mann and AAP MLA Aman Arora are also likely to be part of it.

Channi had also written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday seeking a status quo ante on BSF jurisdiction. He had stated that the Central Government was attempting to weaken the spirit of federalism and disturb the federal structure of the Constitution.

Channi had said that Punjab shares around 425 km of international border with Pakistan, and more than 80% of total area of the border districts, including Pathankot, Gurdaspur, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur and Fazilka, fall within the 50 km radius from the Indo-Pakistan international border.

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