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Tarn Taran: District Cong chief resigns, says party leaders running illegal liquor trade

Ghasitpur claimed that he made several attempts to meet Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh after the hooch tragedy to tell him about the about the ground realities, but couldn't get an appointment.

Written by Kamaldeep Singh Brar | Amritsar |
August 26, 2020 10:30:40 pm
Police points to mitigating factor for one accused, gives clean chit to anotherAt least 21 people had died in 2012 Bihar Hooch Tragedy.

Accusing party leaders and the civil and police administration of sheltering the spurious liquor smugglers behind the recent hooch tragedy, Tarn Taran district Congress president Manjit Singh Ghasitpur resigned from the party. The Congress leadership, however, termed the resignation as “drama” claiming that the district unit had been dissolved four months ago.

Ghasitpur claimed that he made several attempts to meet Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh after the hooch tragedy to tell him about the about the ground realities, but couldn’t get an appointment.

The spurious liquor tragedy saw 123 people dead in three districts Tarn Taran, Gurdaspur and Amritsar. Maximum deaths were reported from Tarn Taran.

“I am a second generation Congress leader. My father was district vice-president of Congress party and was killed by militants in 1988. The circumstances now are such that I have been forced to resign from the party, which was like a family for me,” said Ghasitpur who was appointed district president in 2019.

“As district Congress president, I was answerable to the local people who would come to me to seek solutions to their problems and demand justice in hooch tragedy. Two biggest issues in Punjab is the drug addiction and smuggling. The Congress government was formed in Punjab on the issue of drug problem. Captain Amarinder Singh had taken a vow on Gutka Sahib to end the drug mafia. On the contrary, the drug problem has become more serious,” he alleged.

Accusing his own party MLAs of being involved in sale of illegal liquor, he said, “More than 120 people died. What was civil and police administration doing? Didn’t they know that illegal liquor was being sold in broad day light. It is shameful that our party MLAs and their personal assistants are indulging in illegal liquor trade. I wanted to tell this to CM.”

“I repeatedly informed PCC president Sunil Jakhar about the drug problem. I told him that people had been asking questions and we don’t have any answers. I made repeated attempts to seek time from the CM after the hooch tragedy as 94 people died in Tarn Taran. I wanted to inform him about the ground reality, but couldn’t meet the CM,” he added.

He said every ground-level Congress party worker and leader was “is feeling what I have gone through”. “Our government failed on all fronts,” he added.

Terming his claims as “pompous, false, laughable and motivated,” political secretary to the CM Captain Sandeep Sandhu said Ghasitpur’s “resignation” was a drama as the district Congress unit was dissolved four months ago for restructuring.

“How can one resign from a post one does not hold,” asked Sandhu.

Terming Ghasitpur’s acts as politically motivated, Sandhu said his claims of seeking time for meeting with the CM were also fallacious and untruthful.

“The CM had visited Tarn Taran and met all the leaders there. Ghasitpur never sought time for any meeting. He must refrain from making unfounded allegations for forwarding his narrow political agenda at behest of the Opposition,” Sandhu added.

He said that the state government was doing everything possible to eradicate illegal liquor trade and strictest action was being ensured against anyone found involved.

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