Virtually blaming the Punjab Government for using Covid-19 as a tool to suppress the voice of the people by banning rallies in the State, the opposition parties on Wednesday unanimously accused the Congress regime of adopting an arbitrary approach for implementing the Covid curbs. That was not all! Even the state’s biggest farmers’ organization — Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) — has rebuffed the Government’s decision while declaring to hold its scheduled rally on April 13.
Notably, the Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday ordered a total ban on the political gatherings, pointing that that his pleas to all political parties to refrain from organizing such events had been ignored.
Ordering ban, the Chief Minister has also issued strict directions the Police and the Districts Administrations to register cases against the political leaders, organizers, participants of political gatherings under DMA and Epidemics Act, besides booking the owners of the tent houses — who provide the infrastructure for such gatherings, and also the venue owners — who provide space for such events. In addition, venues would also be sealed for three months.
Capt Amarinder also lashed out at Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) chief Arvind Kejriwal, and SAD president Sukhbir Badal for attending political rallies “without following safety protocols”.
Kejriwal had recently addressed a massive rally at Moga’s Bagha Purana, while Sukhbir has also been holding party rallies across the State, even after recovering from the COVID-19 recently. At the same time, he pointed out that the Congress party had unilaterally announced its decision of not holding any rallies or public meetings last month.
Quoting the examples of recently-concluded civic body polls in the state and other Government events, the AAP MLA Prof Baljinder Kaur asked where was Corona at that time.
“Lockdown is not the right solution to corona…And if Government has to impose lockdown, it should also be there when they have to conduct their functions and rallies, or when they have to conduct the MC polls or their programmes…The Government is not doing anything which needs to be done,” she said.
AAP legislator, justifying the AAP’s decision to conduct rallies even after the Chief Minister’s appeal, said that the party was not coming forth with political issues, but “we are raising the people’s issues like high power rates”.
Senior BJP leader Prof Rajinder Bhandari, mincing no words, attacked the Congress Government and accused it of “losing its credibility”. “I am totally in favour of the Government’s decision to ban rallies…but unfortunately, it has lost all its credibility…I wanted to ask, wasn’t there any corona when they were allowing the farmers to hold rallies in the state,” said Bhandari while blaming the Government for adopting double standards.
The Akali Dal claimed that the Congress Government’s decision was direct fallout of the resounding success of ‘Punjab Mangda Jawab’ rallies organized by the SAD and that the Government had resorted to this step to prevent the public angst from boiling over.