January 15, 2022 2:06:05 am
A noted Schedule Caste (SC) face of Congress in Phagwara and former Punjab minister Joginder Singh Mann on Friday resigned snapping his 50-year-old ties with the party. Mann, a Valmiki Majhabi Sikh, also quit as the chairman of Punjab Agro Industries Corporation.
Though he didn’t reveal his future plans but sources said that he may join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the coming days. Local leaders said that if he joins another party, he can definitely dent the Congress vote to some extent in Phagwara, which has good presence of both Valmiki and Ravidasi community.
In a letter to AICC chief Sonia Gandhi, the three-time former MLA from Phagwara, who was minister in Cabinets of Beant Singh, HS Brar, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Captain Amarinder Singh, said, “I had a dream that when I will die the Congress tri-colour will be wrapped around my body but with Congress patronising guilty of post-matric scholarship scheme my conscience doesn’t allow me to stay here.”
He said that the Maharajas, landlords, moneybags and opportunist leaders such as Captain Amarinder Singh, Navjot Singh Sidhu and others came into the party for sake of vested political interests due to which the party drifted from its core values and focus shifted merely to contest the polls and grab power. He added that from past few months, “He is having sleepless nights because millions of SC students whose careers have been ruined due to the usurping of money haunted me. They are sitting with hands on lap and allowing the atrocious moves of the party. Instead of punishing the guilty, Congress has been sheltering them and recent decision of Cabinet also points towards it.”
“It is not the same party whose leader late Indira Gandhi rode atop an elephant, as no other vehicle was available in bad weather, to mourn death of members of SC community who were killed in Belchi (Bihar) but today leaders of Congress are drenched with blood of SC students whose careers have been ruined due to post matric scholarship scam,” he added. The SC scholarship scam had surfaced in 2020, following a report by the then additional chief secretary, discovering alleged misappropriation of Rs 55.71 crore.
The report had also questioned the role of the then Social Justice minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot in allegedly shielding those involved in the scam.
Citing another reason for quitting the party, he said that residents of Phagwara have to travel around 40 km to Kapurthala for getting their administrative works done at District headquarters. He added that he had been repeatedly flagging off the issue of according district status to Phagwara from day one before the then CM Captain Amarinder Singh and now before Charanjit Singh Channi. “But instead of paying any heed to it, they have blatantly ignored this demand of Phagwara residents thereby humiliating their sentiments and aspirations.
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