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Sunday, Sep 25, 2022

Punjab: After fading into obscurity following jail term, Vijay Singla rises from the ashes

Vijay Singla was shown the door by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann when allegations came to the fore that he had been demanding commission for tenders passed by health and family welfare department.

Dr Vijay Singla (Express file photo)

After Being sacked from Cabinet as health minister on corruption charges, Mansa MLA Dr Vijay Singla can once again be seen participating in activities planned by the ruling Aam Aadmi Party.

Singla was shown the door by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann when allegations came to the fore that he had been demanding commission for tenders passed by health and family welfare department. The department floats tenders worth crores of rupees for procuring medicines and equipment, among others.

Mann had said that the dentist MLA had confessed to him about his misconduct. Singla was sent to jail following the incident. Mann and AAP supremo Arvind Kejriwal often boast of this action and try to score some brownie points with the people whenever they talk about ‘kattar imaandaar’ subject.

However, Singla was released on bail on July 8 and since then he has been active in his area (Mansa). Of late, he is also seen expanding his sphere of influence by attending party meetings which have left a question mark over the stand of AAP on corrupt leaders.

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On Thursday, Singla was part of the MLAs’ meeting addressed by Mann after Punjab Governor denied the government permission for a special Vidhan Sabha session to bring a ‘confidence motion’. Singla was also part of the peace march carried out by AAP MLAs in Chandigarh in protest against the governor’s decision.

On September 18, Singla attended an AAP meeting in national capital where he was spotted with Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia, Punjab Health Minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra, Nabha MLA Dev Mann and others as many of his supporters shared photographs of Singla with these leaders on their social media pages tagging him as well.

When The Indian Express spoke to Singla, he said, “Development works are going on in my area. I am busy interacting with masses. Some gaps had appeared in the past few months in the development works, but they will be plugged soon. People are coming to me with their demands and I am eager to oblige them.”

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When asked about the case for which he was sacked, Singla retorted that he was caught up with work and would get back soon.
A dentist by profession, Singla had defeated Congress’s Sidhu Moosewala with a margin of more than 63,000 votes in the Assembly elections. Moosewala was murdered on May 29. After he was released on bail, Singla had visited Moosa village to offer condolences to Moosewala’s parents at their house.

Now that Singla is almost back on his feet after his jail term, his second innings in the political arena have left a question mark on AAP and its stand on corrupt leaders. AAP had labelled him corrupt and dismissed him, but now it’s greeting him with open arms. Today Singla is active in party activities, and AAP has been at the receiving end of this ‘double standard’ with Shiromani Akali Dal, BJP and Congress severely criticising the party to come clean about its policy on corrupt leaders.

When contacted, AAP chief spokesperson Malwinder Singh Kang said, “We had removed him as health minister soon after we got to know about the 1% commission demand for tenders. The case was referred to police, he was arrested and even sent to jail. Now the matter is sub judice. He can continue his work as an MLA. He is in different committees of Vidhan Sabha. He is attending the meetings as an MLA, and I don’t think there should be any issue.”

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When asked if the party will take any action against him, Kang said, “That is for the party high command to decide. He is just taking part in the meetings as an MLA. He is not part of any decision making anywhere in the government or even at the party level.”

 

First published on: 23-09-2022 at 07:37:33 am
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