INDIA fails to come together in Punjab

Congress leaders allege victimisation by AAP, say govt going soft on Akalis

Team Parvasi – Inside

INDIA fails to come together in Punjab
Chandigarh: The opposition INDIA bloc is coming unstuck in Punjab even before it has taken off. Going by the long list of former Congress ministers facing cases, it appears that the party, not the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) — the other prominent political party in the state, has become the AAP government’s primary target.

At least three former ministers, including Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Sunder Sham Arora, were arrested for their alleged financial misdemeanours. Former Finance Minister Manpreet Badal got interim anticipatory bail from the Punjab and Haryana High Court in a plot allotment case. The HC stayed the arrest of former Forest Minister Sangat Singh Gilzian.

Former CM Charanjit Channi presented himself before the bureau for questioning with regard to disproportionate assets. Former ministers Gurpreet Kangar and Brahm Mohindra are also doing regular rounds of the bureau for questioning. One of the biggest critics of the AAP government, Sukhpal Khaira, is currently lodged in jail in connection with an old drugs case.

At least seven top leaders of the state Congress, including former ministers and Members of Parliament, while speaking to The Tribune on condition of anonymity, alleged victimisation by AAP.

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“Yes, there is a blatant victimisation of Congress leaders. We are just being called to the bureau and asked baseless questions. Many have already gone three-four times. Isn’t it odd that on one level they are talking about a tie-up with our party as part of the INDIA bloc and on the other, they are targeting us and not the Akalis. We cannot openly speak on the issue because of our party high command’s involvement in the discussions on INDIA at the national level. However, I don’t see any alliance happening in Punjab,” a former minister said.

A top Dalit leader of the Congress, while accusing the AAP government of casteism, said, “Interference by the Vigilance Bureau is only a part of the actual scenario. Actually only one section of society is being targeted by AAP. There is no other reason why the government is going soft on violations at the Sukhvilas, a hotel project associated with former Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal of the SAD. There is also no other reason why a challan has not been presented against former minister Bikram Majithia in the case of his alleged involvement in drugs”.

A senior officer of the Vigilance Bureau said, “It will be wrong to give any personal or political tinge to the ongoing Vigilance cases. The bureau has done a complete background check before framing watertight charges. Let the results show.”

AAP spokesperson Malwinder Kang said, “The INDIA platform has been created to keep the BJP out of power at the Centre. Whatever local Congress leaders think does not make a difference because the final decision with regard to the alliance will be taken by the central leadership. In any case, we are prepared to contest all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab alone and also the lone seat of Chandigarh”.

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