Two days after Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar sought strict action against party’s Rajya Sabha members — Pratap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo, the entire Punjab Cabinet on Thursday also pitched for the duo’s “immediate expulsion” for their “anti-party” and “anti-government” activities, which they termed as “gross indiscipline”.
“The actions of the two Rajya Sabha MPs call for immediate and strict action against them by the party high command,” said the Cabinet Ministers, seeking Bajwa and Dullo’s dismissal for “attacking their own Congress Government” in the State over the hooch tragedy.
The Ministers, in a joint statement, called for the whip to be immediately cracked on the two MPs, without any laxity or delay. “Indiscipline could not be tolerated at any time, least of all when Assembly elections in the State are less than two years way,” they said, pointing to the MPs’ repeated attacks on the State Government, including the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.
“By bypassing all party and government forums to protest against the government handling of the hooch tragedy and to approach the Governor for CBI and ED inquiries into the case, the two MPs have not only attacked the very basis of democratic governance but have sought to undermine the Punjab Police force, which is effectively cracking down on the liquor mafia despite the COVID pandemic pressures it is currently handling,” they said.
This is not the way democratic systems and institutions are meant to function, said the ministers, pointing out that a CBI probe was needed only if the police failed to deliver, which was definitely not the case at present.
Moreover, the decision on recommending or not recommending a CBI probe rests with the State Government, and not with two MPs, who are unable to even represent the interests of Punjab properly in the Parliament, the Ministers said.
“Instead of doing their job as MPs, both Bajwa and Dullo seem intent on destabilising their own government, either out of their own greed for power or at the bidding of those who want to destabilize the Congress in Punjab,” the Ministers pointed out.
What was even more unacceptable was the fact that instead of feeling even remotely apologetic, these MPs continue to be on the offensive, going so far as to launch a personal attack on Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar. “How can party MPs from a state go around openly criticizing the chief of their own state unit,” they asked, adding that the Congress had a strong leadership in Punjab and did not need two indiscipline members denting the image.
Punjab Ministers lash out at SAD, AAP for playing with people’s sentiment with eye on polls
Punjab Cabinet Ministers on Thursday hit out at the Akalis and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for “shamelessly” using the hooch tragedy to play with the people’s sentiments with an eye on the assembly elections.
“The opposition is so busy playing to the gallery that even the sufferings of the victims and their families seemed not to have affected them,” said the Ministers — Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Sunder Sham Arora, and Bharat Bhushan — in a joint statement.
Ridiculing SAD president Sukhbir Badal’s announcement that the party would approach the Governor to seek the Congress Government’s dismissal, the Ministers said that the Akalis’ game-plan had been completely exposed. “It is clear that, following the pattern of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Akalis, acting on the directives of their political masters – BJP – are trying to destabilize Punjab’s duly elected government,” they said.
“But the cheap machinations of the Akalis will not succeed, and they would end up humiliating themselves even more in the eyes of the people of Punjab than they had been doing over the past three and a half years,” they added.
“If governments could be dismissed for crimes committed by gangsters and criminal mafias, the SAD-BJP government of the past would have been dismissed in the first year of their rule,” they said, citing the mafia raj that prevailed across the State under their regime.
Pointing to various hooch tragedies that had taken place under SAD rule, and were taking place in many States even now under BJP-ruled governments, the Ministers dared Sukhbir to come out with details of the action taken in any of those. “In contrast, the Punjab Police, on strict directives of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, has already taken 50 people in its net, including many of the kingpins of the mafia responsible for the deaths of more than 100 people in the latest tragedy,” they pointed out.Jakhar meets CM, seeks exemplary action against conspirators, financiers, patrons, officers responsible
Punjab Congress president Sunil Jakhar on Thrusday urged the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh to ensure exemplary action against everyone, right from the conspirators, to financiers, patrons and even officers involved in the unfortunate hooch tragedy.
Jakhar, who called on the Chief Minister, said that the biggest achievement of the Congress Government in Punjab was to establish the rule of law by uprooting the jungle raj prevailing from more than a decade. “However, the hooch tragedy has dented the image of the State Government,” said Jakhar, while welcoming the Chief Minister’s announcement to book perpetrators of this unfortunate tragedy for murder saying that it has restored people’s faith in the government.
“To further win the people’s confidence, the investigation into the case must be conducted in a prompt and time-bound manner. Exemplary action must be ensured against the conspirators, financiers, patrons and officers involved in this unfortunate man-made tragedy,” demanded Jakhar adding that these conspirators, financiers, patrons and officers must be exposed and exemplary punishment should be ensured to them.
He added that in case, involvement of any politician or officer for patronizing this nexus was found, “severest of severe action must be taken against them also”.
SAD-BJP urges Governor to dismiss Cong Govt; recommend HC or CBI inquiry
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) – Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday urged Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore to dismiss the Capt Amarinder Singh led Congress Government and recommend an inquiry by a sitting judge of the High Court or the CBI into the hooch tragedy. Besides, the party demanded an Enforcement Directorate probe “to recover the ill-gotten wealth acquired by Congress leaders from illicit liquor trade”.
The demands were put forth by the SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and BJP leader and former Minister Manoranjan Kalia, who led a SAD-BJP delegation to the Governor accompanied by a victim family.
The delegation urged the Governor to direct confiscation of properties of all those involved in the illicit liquor trade, however big they may be, besides stopping smuggling of denatured spirit and extra neutral alcohol (ENA) from distilleries.
It also demanded that murder cases be registered against all those named by the victim families, particularly Congress’ Khadoor Sahib MLA Ramanjit Singh Sikki. It also urged that all 118 victim families as well as those who were severely affected after imbibing spurious liquor be rehabilitated.
The joint delegation alleged that the hooch tragedy was the “direct result of state patronage” and that was why, the people across three districts of Amritsar, Tarn Taran, and Gurdaspur were affected by the same lot of contaminated liquor.”This level of distribution has happened due to nexus established between Congress leaders and legislators, police and excise officials,” it alleged.
Tragedy victim family member Kamajit Kaur told the Governor that she was being threatened ever since she recorded a complaint against Khadoor Sahib MLA. “I was even denied Rs two lakh compensation for the death of two family members which have been given to other victim families,” she said.