Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly Harpal Singh Cheema has claimed that he has not been given an appointment to meet Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and discuss several issues concerning the state despite several reminders. In a letter to the CM, Cheema remonstrated that instead of giving an appointment, Amarinder’s staff instead asked him to meet the Chief Secretary or the Home Secretary.
“It is quite unfortunate that I have been constrained to write this letter to you after the repeated denial of an audience to discuss and debate the core issues concerning Punjab and its people,” the letter dated August 18 read.
Cheema said that the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), being the principal opposition party of Punjab, has been trying hard for days now to seek “an appointment from you” to discuss certain pressing issues.
“However, it is unfortunate to note that our repeated requests to this effect have fallen on deaf ears for reasons best known to you. We were today given to understand that you were not available for a meeting and that we should meet the Chief Secretary and the Health Secretary, instead,” he said in the letter.
The AAP leader further said that given the manner in which people of the state have suffered due to the mismanagement of fight against Covid-19 pandemic and the death of more than 150 people due to consumption of spurious liquor, it is imperative that these issues be raised before the Chief Minister.
“However it is a matter of grave concern that neither are we being given an audience to discuss the issues in person or allowed through video conferencing, which amounts to denial of the constitutional right to the principal opposition party. The refusal to discuss the core issues and concerns of the people of Punjab has left them to suffer in silence due to your humongous ego and your lack of abiding faith in the democratic traditions,” Cheema said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Cheema confirmed that he had written to the CM. “However, I have not even got a reply from him. I have been consistently trying to get an appointment from him in my capacity as LoP but there are attempts to fob off the request by asking to meet Chief Secretary or someone else. This is entirely unacceptable,” he said.
Cheema said that he was also not allowed to raise any issues in the Vidhan Sabha’s monsoon session by ensuring that he was not allowed to enter the House. “I was denied entry on frivolous grounds despite being Covid negative while Congress MLAs who attended the session have turned out to be Covid positive and the CM has had to go into quarantine. This treatment of an LoP and denial of audience to him by a CM is unprecedented,” Cheema said.