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Revolt in Congress over Punjab government jobs given to sons of MLAs

On Friday, five ministers — Razia Sultana, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, and Charanjeet Singh Channi — had protested against the government decision during the Cabinet meeting.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
Updated: June 19, 2021 11:09:33 pm
Punjab employees on 5-day pen-down strike, SAD says sack FM Manpreet BadalThe Punjab government had last week decided to implement a majority of the recommendations of its sixth pay commission with effect from January 1, 2016. (File photo)

A day after the Punjab Cabinet approved jobs for the sons of two MLAs, even while facing vociferous protests from five of its own ministers, the state unit of the Congress revolted against the decision and urged Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to roll it back.

The Cabinet had on Friday cleared the decision to give government jobs to Arjun Partap Singh Bajwa, son of Qadian MLA Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa, as inspector (Group B) in Punjab Police, and Bhisham Pandey, son of Ludhiana MLA Rakesh Pandey, as Naib Tehsildar, on compassionate grounds.

On Saturday, PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar, and two MLAs — Kuljit Singh Nagra, and Amarinder Singh Raja Warring — both considered close to former AICC chief leader Rahul Gandhi, opposed the decision. The president of Punjab Youth Congress, Brinder Dhillon, also opposed the move, with all the four leaders demanding that the orders of appointment be rescinded.

On Friday, five ministers — Razia Sultana, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, and Charanjeet Singh Channi — had protested against the government decision during the Cabinet meeting.

Jakhar, in a statement issued on Saturday said, that even as he underlined the fact that it is the moral duty of the nation and the state government to take care in every way of the families of freedom fighters and those who give their lives for the country, and it would not be proper to keep recent appointments made on compassionate grounds in the same league.

He urged the Chief Minister to have a relook at the decision and immediately rescind the appointments in ‘greater public interest’. Jakhar pointed out that certain elected representatives were tending to their own families and did not deserve the same consideration as that is accorded to those who make the supreme sacrifice for the nation.

“Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh Ji must reverse the ill-advised decision,” Jakhar said, cautioning against potential charges of nepotism and political expediency to be levied against the Congress party otherwise.

“The decision is also in my view against the ethos and culture of neutrality followed by the Chief Minister and the Congress party, as a whole,” he said.

Jakhar further said that the decision has put on the backburner several key announcements made by the Cabinet on Friday — including the implementation of the pay commission recommendations and the regularisation of Safai Karamcharis — and the party has failed to highlight the benefits of these pro-employee decisions, which it has taken despite facing a severe financial crunch.

Kuljit Nagra, in a video message to the Chief Minister, the Cabinet and the party, demanded that the decision be rolled back immediately. “As an individual and a representative of the people, I am not in favour of this decision. I request the Cabinet, the CM and the party, and its president, that the decision should be rolled back. The CM should call a Cabinet meeting again. I am a representative of the people. I belong to a non-political family and as a former student leader, I call on the party to review the decision. I am saying this after getting feedback from the people and youths of the state. The government should provide employment on the basis of merit only,” Nagra said.

Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, also spoke on similar lines and said that the decision should be revoked. He urged both the MLAs to listen to the call of their conscience and decline the appointments.

Brinder Dhillon, while also demanding a roll-back of the decision, said that all unemployed youths should get jobs, legislators should also think that whether the new appointments have helped the party or their individual interests.

Rahul to meet a dozen leaders

AICC leader Rahul Gandhi is likely to meet a dozen leaders, including six Cabinet ministers, before Sonia Gandhi meets CM and party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on June 22, sources said. Rahul has sought a list of leaders, who wanted to meet him personally. The list was sent to him by the ministers and six MLAs.

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