Resentment against Santokh Singh Salana, Aam Aadmi Party candidate from Bassi Pathana seat of Fatehgarh Sahib, is brewing among the party’s volunteers. Initially the issue was that he was an “outsider”, but now, Salana’s dishonesty about his time working for the Haryana government is being claimed as the larger problem.
According to a copy of his dismissal orders dated February 13, 2007, accessed by The Indian Express, Salana, who worked as s canal patwari in Sutlej-Yamuna Link Water Services Circle, Ambala, was “absent” from duty for almost four years, following which he was “dismissed”. Salana had earlier claimed that he had quit on his own own.
An excerpt from the orders undersigned by Ambala superintending engineer reads, “Shri Santokh Singh S/O Shri Dayal Singh, while working as canal patwari in SYL WS sub division, Ambala has committed following acts of commissions and omissions. He is willfully absent with effect from 30.1.2003 and failed to join his duty till today inspite of repeated reminders. Now action to dismiss his services is being taken. He has acted in a manner, which is unbecoming of the government employee.”
Further saying that several notices sent to Salana went unanswered, including the one pasted on the wall of his house and published in newspapers, the orders concluded saying, “Now, therefore in terms of Punishment & Appeals Rules, 1987, the services of Santokh Singh, canal patwari are hereby dispensed with and he is dismissed from Haryana government Service with effect from 30.1.2003. This dismissal is without prejudice to the claim of Haryana state, if any, pending against him. It is therefore, ordered accordingly.”
Salana had joined the Haryana government on February 13, 1995 as an ad-hoc and his services were regularised in September 1997.
Speaking to The Indian Express, a local AAP leader from Bassi Pathana said, “Firstly, he is resident of Amloh not Bassi Pathana. He is an outsider. Even if we ignore this, his dishonesty as a government employee cannot be ignored. Is this where the AAP has reached that even dismissed government employees will get tickets? And then there are his lies. The day he got ticket, he told media that he willfully ‘left’ the job. He did not leave the job, he was dismissed. We will be showing these documents to high command.”
When contacted, Salana accepted that he was dismissed by Haryana government for long absence. “My commitment towards Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) kept me busy and I wasn’t being able to devote time to the job. Anyway, dismissal from a government job is not a criminal offence,” Salana said to The Indian Express.
“Soon I am shifting my base to Bassi Pathana from Amloh. I have worked for AAP since 2013 in entire Fatehgarh Sahib,” Salana said, countering the “outsider” allegation. A BSP rebel, he was the national president of ‘Kanshi Ram Bachao Sangharsh Committee’ which led protests against party supremo Mayawati. He is now the general secretary of SC/ST wing of AAP.