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Punjab panchayat elections File has signatures of CM Mann and minister Bhullar

CMO spokesperson says the CM and minister were not informed that due processes had not been followed

Team Parvasi – Inside

Punjab panchayat elections File has signatures of CM Mann and minister Bhullar
Chandigarh: A copy of the file based on which elections to panchayats in Punjab were announced has surfaced online.The file has signatures of both Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Rural Development Minister Laljit Bhullar, besides the two IAS officers who were suspended over the panchayat elections row on Thursday.

The suspension of both DK Tiwari, who was Financial Commissioner, Rural Development; and Gurpreet Singh Khaira, Director, Rural Development; has created an unease in the government.

A copy of the file, which is in circulation since Friday morning, shows that both the Chief Minister and Rural Development Minister have signed the file. The Opposition has been questioning the government as to why action has been taken only against officers, while the minister concerned has been spared.

A spokesperson in the Chief Minister’s Office said, “The CM and the minister only approved what the officers had put on the file. They were not informed by the officers that the due processes before declaration of elections and dissolution of panchayats were not followed by the officers. Thus, the government had to face embarrassment in the court. As soon as the CM was apprised of this, he immediately ordered the withdrawal of the notification. How can they be responsible for the actions of the officers?”

Meanwhile, it has also created ripples in the state bureaucracy, with many officers claiming that the two officers placed under suspension were only acting on the instructions of their political bosses.

The Punjab government had suspended two senior IAS officers on Thursday for a “technically-flawed” decision hours after taking a “U-turn” by informing the high court that it is withdrawing its notification dissolving all gram panchayats in the state.

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The government suspended 1994-batch IAS officer Dhirendra Kumar Tiwari, Principal Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayats; and 2009-batch IAS officer Gurpreet Singh Khaira, Director, Rural Development and Panchayats and ex-officio Special Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayats; under the provisions of Rule 3(1) of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, according to an official order.

‘What a shame for Bhagwant Mann, Laljit Bhullar, they blamed 2 IAS officers’; Opposition hits out at Punjab government
The blame game and politics over who gave orders for dissolution of panchayats in Punjab have begun with the Opposition nailing the government over the issue after a leaked signed copy of the letter surfaced online.

The copy has signatures of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Rural Development minister Laljit Singh Bhullar, besides of the two bureaucrats. Two IAS officers were suspended on Thursday after the Punjab government’s ‘U-turn’ in the High Court on dissolution of panchayats. The Opposition is now questioning the government on why only officers are being punished while the minister concerned is spared.

It has also annoyed the state bureaucracy, with many anxious officers claiming that the two officers placed under suspension were only following instructions of their political bosses.

The Chief Minister’s office gave a clarification saying the CM and the minister only approved what the officers had put on the file and how could they be responsible for the actions of the officers.

Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira tweeted a copy of the letter saying : “What a shame for @BhagwantMann & @BhullarLaljit Panchayats Minister to approve dissolution of Panchayats according to official noting doing the rounds on social media and then make IAS officers scapegoats for their foolish actions. I urge the bureaucracy of Punjab not to become part of their unconstitutional designs bcoz they don’t have the courage to defend you and ultimately you’ll have to face the music later-Khaira @INCIndia @INCPunjab”

Partap Singh Bajwa tweeted: “It is shameful that @BhagwantMann who signed off on the decision to dissolve the Panchayats has tried to scapegoat two bureaucrats to protect himself and his Minister. If CM had any morals, it is he who should own moral responsibility & resign forthright !”

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