Sulking Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday orchestrated an attack against his own party’s Government by crooning the same old song of replacing the State Director General of Police (DGP) and the Advocate-General (AG). Unhappy with senior party leaders’ “public” avowal, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi tried to placate disgruntled Sidhu saying, “DGP’s name will be finalised after consultation with the State president, all Ministers, and MLAs.”
Channi said the new DGP would be appointed as per the law and the State Government has forwarded the panel of all senior police officers with 30 years of experience to the Centre. “No decision has been taken yet,” said Channi while talking to the media persons on the sidelines of the State level function at Morinda.
Channi’s statement was in response to Sidhu’s tweet pressing the State Government to replace the DGP and AG, saying otherwise “we will have no face”.
Sidhu’s tweet came three days after he and Channi held a detailed meeting wherein it was decided to set up a coordination panel consisting of the Chief Minister, State party chief and a member of high command, for prior consultation on all major decisions of the State Government.
The efforts of the party’s top leadership to strike a chord by appointing the panel to take key decisions were virtually brought to a naught after Sidhu reiterated his demand to replace the two saying the appointment of IPS officer Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota as the State police chief, and senior advocate Amar Preet Singh Deol as the State’s top law officer are “salt on the wounds of the victims” of the 2015 sacrilege cases.
Sidhu on Sunday tweeted, “Demand for Justice in Sacrilege cases and for arrest of main culprits behind the drug trade brought our Govt in 2017 & Due to his failure, People removed the last CM. Now, AG / DG appointments rub salt on wounds of victims, they must be replaced or we will have No face (sic)!!”
The appointments of Sahota and Deol as DGP and AG, respectively, was a major bone of contention between Channi and Sidhu, that led to the latter’s sudden resignation from the post of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president - only 72 days after taking over the party reins.
Sidhu has all along been opposing Sahota and Deol’s appointments as the senior IPS officer was appointed head of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe sacrilege incidents by the erstwhile SAD-BJP government; while the senior advocate has been representing former police chief Sumedh Singh Saini who was named an accused in sacrilege and related police firing cases.
Deol had also secured blanket bail for Saini in all the cases, just about a fortnight before his appointment, with the Punjab and Haryana High Court observing that Saini’s involvement in multiple cases could be a “political ploy in the wake of the coming State Assembly elections”.