Punjab Congress on Wednesday suspended Kulbir Singh Zira, its MLA from Zira, from the party on the charge of “gross indiscipline”, days after he opened a front against the state government at a function to administer the oath to newly elected panchayat members. “Kulbir Singh Zira has been suspended from the primary membership of the party,” Congress chief Sunil Jakhar told reporters here. “Party high command has taken a very serious view of (Zira’s act). It is gross indiscipline and undermining the efforts of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder in terms of containing drugs,”
He said the MLA had every right to express his grievances but “he should have done it at party platform” and not during a public function. “Every legislator has the right to speak. If he had any grievance, he could have taken up with the CM or DGP any time. He violated the discipline by raising the matter at a public function,” he said.
The state unit had earlier issued a show cause notice to Zira after he had alleged inaction against contractors selling illicit liquor. Jakhar said Zira was not able to explain his conduct in his reply. He added that the AICC was on board on the decision. On January 12, Zira had left his party embarrassed after he boycotted a district-level function alleging that “no action” was being taken against some contractors who were selling illicit liquor in Ferozepur. He had also accused a few police officers including one of an IG rank of being in cahoots with some liquor contractors in the illegal trade.
Defending the alleged “selective” action as several MLAs have gone scot-free despite bashing the government at public platforms, Jakhar said, “We have to draw a line somewhere…we will not tolerate any indiscipline.” The move by the Congress is likely to have a ripple effect on several other MLAs, who sources said, were planning to go public with their grievances. Sources in the party said that another MLA had instigated Zira to speak against the government in the presence of Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal.
Zira’s father Inderjit Singh Zira, an Akali leader was brought into the party fold by former party state president Partap Singh Bajwa. Inderjit Singh wanted to contest elections but was denied the party ticket after some leaders sent his photographs to high command in which he was seen distributing sweets after former Prime Minister Late Indira Gandhi was assassinated.
Zira told the Indian Express that he was a committed Congresman and would remain one. “Party is my mother. The PPCC chief is like the mother of the party. So if he has taken a decision, I would abide by that. My fight for issues will continue. Jakhar got that IG posted. That is why I had gone to him in Delhi. I had raised these issues with him. The war will continue against corrupt officers,” Zira said. He said he will meet the CM, Jakhar, AICC president Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and seek justice.