Updated: January 6, 2022 6:13:42 am
The opposition parties in Punjab Wednesday unequivocally condemned the security breach that led PM Narendra Modi to abort his visit to the state Wednesday even as CM Charanjit Singh Channi refused to take blame for it.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, AAP’s co-incharge Raghav Chadha and former CM Amarinder Singh, all spoke in one voice to say that it was a breach in security and Punjab government was in “incapable” hands. Amarinder even called for the imposition of President’s rule in the state.
While Channi expressed regret, he categorically stated that there was no threat posed to the PM. Interestingly, PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu was conspicuous by his silence.
Former PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar, meanwhile, condemned the incident, calling it “just not acceptable. It’s against Panjabiyat.” He said the state government should have provided a secure passage to the PM to address BJP’s political rally in Ferozepur.
AAP’s Raghav Chadha tweeted to say, “Any lapse in security of the Prime Minister is unacceptable. Whatever our differences maybe, every state government must provide highest-level of security for the Prime Minister.”
Former CM Amarinder Singh went to the extent of demanding dismissal of the state government. He said, “If the Prime Minister of the country has to cancel all his programmes owing to a grave security breach, what should be the plight of the ordinary person living in Punjab?”
He also called it a deliberate mischief of the state government to disrupt the PM programmes in Punjab, as he was to start various development projects to the tune of more than Rs 50,000 crore.
The former CM regretted that the Congress government had stooped so low that it orchestrated disruption of the rally.
“Just because he belongs to the opposition party does not mean that you disrupt his programmes, after all he is the Prime Minister of the entire country,” Amarinder said, adding, “what happened today was shameful and disgraceful and the government and the Chief Minister cannot escape the responsibility for it”.
Earlier he had tweeted: “Complete failure of law and order in Punjab, CM and HM Punjab, in particular. When you cannot provide smooth passage to the Prime Minister of the country and that too just 10km from the Pakistan border, you have no right to stay in office and should quit!”
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal also slammed the Channi government. He tweeted: “There is complete collapse of law and order in Punjab. We have been saying this for long. The CM is incompetent to run the state.”
Sukhbir added that the incident was reflective of the total collapse of the law and order machinery in Punjab and that CM Channi was solely to blame for this crisis.
“The incident makes it clear that there is no government whatsoever in the state. The infighting in the Punjab Congress has made the chief minister totally ineffective and the situation has become such that there is no clear command over the law and order machinery. This was witnessed today also with the chief minister and home minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa speaking in two different voices over the same incident”.
Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, former minister and legislator from Guru Harsahai who had recently joined BJP, also demanded dismissal of the state government. He said that the disruption of Modi’s programme was a design conceived by Channi led government. “Preparations for PM’s visit were being made for last five days. There was so much of enthusiasm that the Congress had got nervous and in that nervousness, the Congress hatched a conspiracy,” he alleged
“The PM had taken a decision that he would first go to Hussainiwala to pay tributes to martyrs. He was expected to announce a package for the state. With this incident, Channi has thrown a spanner in the wheel of Punjab’s development. People will not forgive him. When he landed in Bathinda it was very clear that weather was inclement and he would travel by road. DGP Siddharth Chattopadhyaya assured the BJP leadership that everything was clear. Then, Congress got into action. It was planned. That is why Channi had not come to meet the PM. He did not get his Covid test done. He held a presser, without a mask. He should have been in the quarantine,” said Sodhi.
Another Congress-turned-BJP leader Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa said this was a question on Punjab’s hospitality.
“The PM would have announced a package of Rs 42,000 crore and many other announcements for benefit of farmers, industry, interest waiver of state’s debt were in the offing. When he was coming back from Hussainiwala, he was stopped for 15 minutes, it was just 10 km away from Pakistan border. Thank god there was no situation arising out of state government failure. It is a national disgrace.”
Punjab Cabinet Minister Pargat Singh, meanwhile, defended his government as he tweeted: “The real reason for Modi ji’s absence from the Ferozepur rally is total boycott by the people of Punjab. Punjab govt in consultation with SPG and other Central agencies provided all security support. The fig leaf of security lapse can’t conceal the reality.”
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