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Friday, July 23, 2021

Punjab: Sukhbir Badal detained amid protest outside CM Amarinder Singh’s residence

As the protest intensified, security forces used water cannons on the protesting Akali Dal leaders and workers to disperse the crowd.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: June 15, 2021 4:29:53 pm
Badal was detained after, he along with scores of SAD leaders held a protest against the state government outside the residence of the chief minister at Siswan. (Photo: Twitter/@officeofssbadal)

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal was detained by Punjab Police Tuesday during a protest alleging scam in various schemes introduced by the Captain Amarinder Singh-led government.

Badal was detained after he along with scores of SAD and BSP leaders staged a demonstration against the state government outside the residence of the Chief Minister at Siswan.

After his detention, Badal tweeted: “Courted arrest with hundreds of SAD & BSP workers while marching to CM @capt_amarinder’s farmhouse near Chd to demand arrest of health min @BalbirSinghMLA for vaccine & fateh kit scams besides need to give market rate to farmers whose lands are acquired for highway projects (sic).”

In another tweet, he said thousands of SAD-BSP workers had collected near Capt Amarinder Singh’s farmhouse “to wake the arrogant ‘raja’ from his slumber and demand justice for the people of Punjab.” He added that the SAD-BSP alliance has decided to make all Congress leaders accountable for the corruption committed by them once his party forms the government in 2022.

Speaking to reporters before getting detained, Badal asserted that “if a storm rises, Captain will not be able to stop it.”

“If a storm rises, Captain won’t be able to stop it, even if he uses all his force. There is a scam in vaccination, there is a scam in Fateh Kit, there is a scam in SC scholarship, also farmers’ land is being acquired,” the SAD chief was quoted as saying by ANI.

As the protest intensified, security forces used water cannons on the protesting Akali Dal leaders and workers to disperse the crowd.

The protesters were seen forcing through the barricades put up by the police, while many climbed on them carrying party flags.

The opposition party has been frequently targeting the state government in the past few months over several issues including vaccination and Covid-19 management, among others. Today’s protest comes just months ahead of the assembly elections in Punjab due next year.

On Saturday, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) stitched an alliance to contest the 2022 Assembly elections in Punjab. While BSP chief Mayawati dubbed the alliance as a “new political and social initiative” which will usher in progress and prosperity in Punjab, Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal termed it as a “new day” in the state politics. The two parties have joined hands after a gap of 25 years after having contested the 1996 Lok Sabha polls together when they had won 11 out of 13 seats in Punjab.

Last week, Sukhbir Badal had demanded that a criminal case be registered against Health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu and that he be dismissed immediately for selling 80,000 out of the one lakh vaccine doses received from the Centre at a hefty profit to private hospitals and for also allowing the latter to charge the common man a further premium on the doses.

The SAD president further claimed that Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh also encouraged the scam by not taking timely action and was still silent on this crime against humanity. He said it was shocking that the government first jacked up the price of vaccine doses received for Rs 400 to Rs 1060 per dose and then allowed private institutions to sell the same at Rs 1560 per dose.

In May, Badal had attacked the CM claiming that the Captain had done nothing to regulate treatment in private hospitals as well as cap the cost of tests in private laboratories for Covid-19 despite fervent appeals.

He had also alleged that the CM had failed to ensure provision of basic facilities to Covid patients and demanded a Central probe into the Rs 1,000-crore Covid spend claimed by the Congress government, saying nothing had been done on the ground.

Raising the issue of farmers’ plight in Punjab, Badal had in April held CM Amarinder Singh responsible for the total chaos in state mandis saying farmers were forced to camp in miserable conditions at procurement centres due to the state’s inability to arrange gunny bags to store the wheat crop.

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