October 19, 2021 4:55:06 am
SHIROMANI AKALI Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Badal on Monday accused Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi of “downplaying the dangers posed” by the Centre’s move to increase the jurisdiction of central forces, adding that the very purpose of calling an all-party meeting as proposed by him had been defeated by this assertion.
Talking to the mediapersons in Abohar, the SAD president said, “Channi is speaking with a forked tongue on extension of BSF deployment in Punjab. On the one hand he says there is no need to spread panic while on the other he offers an all-party meet. He should understand that he has made any such all-party meeting irrelevant after dismissing the danger posed by the central move.”
Sukhbir also asked Channi to explain why he was objecting to the move if he thought the SAD was unnecessarily worried. “In fact it seems Channi is trying to spread the centre’s narrative that the move is not a major violation of the State’s autonomy,” he added.
Sukhbir said “it appears that Channi is only making a show of protest after facing a public backlash”. “He has spoken up only after being cornered. He should first explain why he agreed to the proposal in the first place when he met Union Home Minister Amit Shah on October 5. He should also say why he has not held any concrete protest on this issue till now.”
The SAD chief said his party had taken a principled stand on this issue as it would weaken the cause of federalism. “We also feel the move presents a threat of repression in the border areas. Channi should tell Punjabis if it is otherwise. Already Punjabis are apprehensive as to why senior police officers have started reporting to the BSF. Instead of correcting this narrative, the chief minister is trying to accuse the SAD of provoking people. I would like to set the record straight. SAD has always behaved responsibly. Parkash S Badal’s tenure as chief minister is testimony to this. It is the Congress party which has always divided the state on communal lines. Even now if we allow central control over nearly one half of Punjab, it will only lead to increased tensions in the region. Channi should understand the gravity of the situation instead of trying to downplay it.”
The SAD president also castigated Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for “trying to defame Punjab by holding it responsible for pollution in Delhi instead of looking inward towards the real reasons”. “This is not the first time Kejriwal has gone against Punjab. Earlier also he has called for closing down four power plants of Punjab in a representation to the Supreme Court.”
Asked about Navjot Sidhu’s volte face on taking back his resignation as PPCC chief, Sukhbir said: “Sidhu should now tell Punjabis what happened to his principles. He had said that he would stick to his principles at all costs but has buckled down meekly after receiving only one scolding from Congress president Sonia Gandhi. Now even corrupt ministers are acceptable to him.”
Badal, who was accompanied by senior leader Dr Mohinder Rinwa, who is the party candidate from the city, also highlighted the “wrongdoings” of former PCC president Sunil Jakhar in the constituency. He alleged that Jakhar had encouraged formation of a syndicate which had repressed cotton prices in the area. He said various other kinds of syndicates had been formed including a liquor syndicate. “Congmen are manufacturing tiles being used for public works and even illegal colonies are being developed with government money due to Jakhar’s patronage”.
Badal assured to augment irrigation facilities in the region once the SAD-BSP alliance government was formed in the state.
On Monday, AAP Fazilka former district president Varinder Singh Khalsa joined the SAD alongwith his supporters. The SAD president visited a sweet shop as well as a local tailor alongwith Dr Mohinder Rinwa during the course of which people congregated towards him in large numbers. He also held a detailed interaction with women besides sharing a cup of coffee with people from all walks of life at two separate functions. He also visited the Dera Baba Bhuman Shah temple, Khuyian Sarwar.
Later, he was given a warm reception at Fazilka. Led by hundreds of motorcyclists, the SAD president, accompanied by Hans Raj Josan, held a road show in the city and also held several public meetings.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.