Questioning the appointment of the son of a cabinet minister and an aide of another as state information commissioners, the Opposition parties in Punjab Thursday accused the Congress government indulging in nepotism.
Anumit Singh Sodhi alias Hira Sodhi, son of Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Sodhi, and Maninder Singh Patti, an aide of Housing and Urban Development Minster Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, were Wednesday sworn in as members of the state information commissioners by Governor VPS Badnore.
Reacting to the development, BJP national general secretary, Tarun Chugh said that it seemed that Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh was making his poll promise of ‘Ghar Ghar Naukri’ come true starting with the relatives and friends of his Cabinet colleagues.
“The poorest of the poor in the state are getting coveted posts under the rule of Amarinder Singh. First, the state government appointed the grandson of former CM Beant Singh as a Deputy Superintendent of Police under special dispensation. Does he come from a disadvantaged family? Now he has given jobs to a son of a minister and a supporter of a minister. How is he going to give lakhs of jobs to the unemployed youth of the state that he promised in the run up to the elections when he is going around exercising nepotism in top jobs?” asked Chugh.
The BJP leader questioned the rationale behind doling out plum posts to wards and friends of ministers when there could be more deserving candidates available. “It is now too late for Amarinder Singh to make amends to the way he has led the government in the state over the past more than three years. Now the countdown has begun for the Congress to be ousted from power and it is time to host a farewell party for Amarinder Singh as is done in the Army on retirement,” Chugh added.
AAP MLA Aman Arora said that there was no reason why the precious resources of the state should be splurged on favourites. “There is already an army of aides and advisors that the CM has. What has been their productivity? Why are more such people being appointed to key posts where there is a need to have impartial people,” asked Arora.
Former Deputy Speaker of Vidhan Sabha and senior leader of SAD (Democratic), Bir Devinder Singh, said that the basic tenets of the Right To Information Act were being negated by appointing such persons to important posts who do not have the kind of background that is needed for those crucial appointments.
“Being the son of a minister or a friend of a minister is not enough to bring gravitas to this job. There is a need to have people from different professions who have experience in any particular line. These posts cannot be used to spread nepotism and to be used as gifts for favourites. Capt Amarinder Singh is letting such important appointments go to the seed with indiscriminate largesse,” the senior leader said.
Anumit Sodhi and Maninder Patti are the most recent in a list of appointments done by the state government in the information commission. The list of appointees in the past also includes Sanjiv Garg, a Congress leader from Patiala, Khushwant Singh, an author of several books who also wrote a biography of Capt Amarinder, and Asit Jolly, a senior journalist.
Earlier, former DGP Suresh Arora was appointed as the Chief Information Commissioner and Lt Gen Ajae Kumar Sharma (retd), a former officer of the Sikh Regiment and from Capt Amarinder’s parent battalion, 2 Sikh, was also appointed as state information commissioner.
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