Punjab Police Tuesday claimed to have arrested a Ludhiana-based paint store owner who allegedly supplied three drums of methanol (methyl alcohol) which was used to make the spurious alcohol that led to 111 deaths over last few days in the state.
The arrest came as Chief Minister termed the hooch deaths as “sheer murder”and vowed that he won’t spare the “killers” even as the internal wrangling in the state Congress came to fore party chief Sunil Jakhar saying that he will urge AICC president Sonia Gandhi to show the door to Rajya Sabha MPs Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo, who,he alleged were doing a “copy-paste job” of what Sachin Pilot did in Rajasthan.
That there’s no love lost between Bajwa and Amarinder is a known fact in the party circles, but what triggered Jakhar’s reaction was the two MPs petitioning Governor VP Singh Badnore on Monday for a probe by the CBI as well as the ED into the alleged “illegal” liquor trade in Punjab.
In Rajasthan, in January after the deaths of 107 infants, then deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot had flayed his own government. “Had action been taken against Pilot then itself, what is happening today in Rajasthan today could have been avoided,” said Jakhar.
Nineteen Congress rebels, including Pilot, revolted against Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot last month, posing a threat to the party’s government in Rajasthan.
“Ye jis thali mein khatey hain ussi mein chhed kartey hain (They have no shame in biting the hand that feeds them,” Jakhar said about Bajwa and Dullo and accused them of “disgracefully exploiting” a tragedy to “further” their own political ambitions and interests.
Bajwa, however, claimed that he and Dullo went to the Governor as CM ignored them. “As a result of his conscious decision to ignore us and the liquor mafia, 117 innocent individuals were murdered in cold blood for the greed of a few. I have not bartered away my conscience for a seat in a former Maharaja’s durbar,” said Bajwa.
“Had Jakhar shown the courage to question the CM on his constant ignorance of these issues, lives may have been saved. The weak-kneed and spineless leadership shown by Jakhar has left the Congress workers in Punjab demoralised and disgruntled,” he said, adding, “I thought Captain Amarinder Singh alone was enough to cause harm to the interests of Punjab; sadly, now he has received much-needed help and support from Jakhar”.
Meanwhile, Amarinder maintained silence on the two MPs even as he castigated the opposition for “exploiting the tragedy for their petty political interests”.
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