AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said the Punjab government has been reduced to a “tamasha” and urged new CM Charanjit Singh Channi to immediately remove “tainted” ministers from his cabinet.
The Delhi CM said this at the Chandigarh airport, a day after the Congress was pushed into a fresh crisis by the resignation of Navjot Singh Sidhu from the post of the party’s Punjab unit chief.
Sidhu on Wednesday in a video message flagged the issue of appointment of “tainted” officials and ministers.
Kejriwal, who is the Delhi CM, also asked the Punjab CM to act on promises made by his predecessor, including the action in the Bargari desecration case.
During the previous SAD-BJP regime, torn pages of a religious text were found at Bargari in Faridkot. Later, in police firing incidents at protesters, two people were killed at Behbal Kalan and many injured in Kotkapura.
“We are seeing what kind of political atmosphere is prevailing in the state. Political instability is there, which is unfortunate,” said Kejriwal, who arrived on a two-day visit to Punjab.
“A dirty fight for power is going on. People are not able to understand whom they should approach for their problems,” he said.
“They have reduced the government to a ‘tamasha’,” alleged Kejriwal.
He said accusations have been made that Channi has inducted “tainted” people in his Cabinet.
“I request that they should be removed forthwith, cases be registered against them and they be dealt with strictly,” he said.
While he congratulated Channi on his elevation as the Punjab CM, Kejriwal said people of the state want him to act on five issues, including the Bargari desecration case.
“The mastermind in the sacrilege incidents have not been punished till now. I don’t need to tell who the mastermind are. Their names are there in the report of Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh and Channi can go through that. The culprits can be arrested within 24 hours,” he said.
Kejriwal said the promises made by former CM Amarinder Singh to people should be fulfilled by the Channi-led government.
“Amarinder had promised to give jobs to the youth and till the time they got one, he had promised to give unemployment allowance. That allowance should be given. He had promised loan waiver to farmers,” he said.
Kejriwal also said the Congress government should scrap the power purchase agreements.
Kejriwal reminded Channi that despite being in power for 49 days in the first term, his government did many works and the Punjab CM still has four months left before the state goes to polls.
“I had 49 days when I first came in power. During that short period, I had halved power rates, made water free and eliminated corruption. If I could do so many works in 49 day period, then Channi too can fulfil pending works,” he said.
The AAP leader said only his party can give a stable and honest government in Punjab.
When asked who will be the CM face of AAP, Kejriwal said, “I have repeatedly said we will give such a face on which you and the entire Punjab will be proud of.”
Earlier in the day, Navjot Singh Sidhu questioned the appointment of the director general of police, advocate general and “tainted” leaders.
“Today, I see there is a compromise on issues,” said Sidhu apparently referring to senior IPS officer Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota who has been given the additional charge of the Punjab DGP.
Sahota was the head of an SIT formed by the SAD-BJP government to probe desecration incidents.
“I see those who had given clean chits to the Badals six years ago…have been given the responsibility of delivering justice,” he added.
“My soul jitters when I see those who secured blanket bails, they are advocate general. What is the agenda here,” Sidhu asked apparently questioning the appointment of A P S Deol to the post.
A system which included “tainted” leaders and officials is being brought back after being dismantled, Sidhu said obliquely referring to the induction of Rana Gurjit Singh as a minister in the new state Cabinet.
Sidhu was appointed the state Congress president on July 18 amid a bitter power tussle with Amarinder Singh, who resigned as the CM 10 days back while accusing the party high command of humiliating him.
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Bihar elections: RJD announces candidates for both seats, Congress snubbed
The Rashtriya Janata Dal on Sunday announced its candidates for by-elections to Tarapur and Kusheshwar Asthan assembly segments of Bihar, in what is being seen as a snub to the Congress, its junior ally, which wants to contest one of the seats.
At a press conference addressed jointly by state RJD president Jagadanand Singh, national general secretary Alok Mehta and state spokesmen Mrityunjay, the names of Arun Kumar Sah and Ganesh Bharti were announced for Tarapur and Kusheshwar Asthan, respectively.
By-elections to the two seats, which were won by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s JD(U), have been necessitated by deaths of the incumbents.
Unlike the NDA, which presented a picture of cohesion two days ago when leaders of all the constituents jointly announced the coalition’s candidates, the RJD, which helms the five-party Grand Alliance, declared nominees without any of the partners by its side.
Kusheshwar Asthan, a reserved seat in Darbhanga district, was contested by the Congress in the assembly polls last year when it lost the seat by a margin of less than 7,000 votes.
Although the party has so far not come out with any reaction on the development, Congress sources affirmed there were plans to field Ashok Ram, the candidate in the assembly polls, or some close member of his family.
RJD sources said the decision to contest both seats followed the “dismal” performance of the Congress in the assembly seats when it fought 70, won less than 20, and was blamed by all partners for the Grand Alliance falling short of a majority.
Meanwhile, the BJP came out with another take on the development which is likely to put some strain on the Congress-RJD ties.
“The RJD is jittery over attempts by the Congress to come out of its shadow by inducting people like Kanhaiya Kumar,” BJP spokesman and national general secretary of the party’s OBC w ing Nikhil Anand said in a statement.
“The RJD has, by announcing its candidates for both seats, killed two birds with one stone. It has shown the Congress its place in the state and also obviated any possibility of Tejashwi and Kanhaiya sharing the stage during by-polls,” said Anand.
Perceived rivalry between Tejashwi Yadav and Kanhaiya has been a matter of much speculation in political circles of Bihar.
It is widely believed that Yadav is not very uncomfortable with the former JNU student leader, who belongs to an upper caste and is known for his crowd-pulling abilities.
In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, when Kanhaiya was fielded by the CPI from his home town Begusarai, the RJD had nominated one of its veteran leaders Tanveer Hasan, which had caused a split in anti-BJP votes and helped Union minister Giriraj Singh to win the seat by a staggering margin of over four lakh votes.
It was rumoured that the RJD went for the move since it was wary of Kanhaiya bursting on the national political scene with an electoral victory, which would have helped him wash off the taint of the sedition case that was the first occasion for him to hit headlines.
Both the CPI and Congress are junior partners of the RJD in Bihar. However, in the Congress, the fiery young leader is expected to get a much wider exposure than it would have been possible in the moribund Left party.
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Navjot Singh Sidhu couldn’t stand a Dalit was made Punjab CM, alleges AAP
The Aam Aadmi Party on Tuesday claimed that Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu quit from his post as he ‘could not bear” that a Dalit has been made the chief minister of the state. Sidhu on Tuesday resigned as the chief of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee ahead of the Assembly elections in the state early next year.
In a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Sidhu, however, said he will continue to serve the party. He had taken over as the state party chief in July this year.
“This shows that Navjot Singh Sidhu is aga inst Dalits. One poor son was made the chief minister… this, Sidhu could not bear. It is very sad,” AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj told reporters.
The AAP is the main opposition in Punjab.
In his letter to Sonia Gandhi, Sidhu wrote, “The collapse of a man’s character stems from the compromise corner, I can never compromise on Punjab’s future and the agenda for the welfare of Punjab,” he wrote in the letter.
“Therefore, I hereby resign as the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Will continue to serve the Congress,” he further wrote.
It is immediately not known what prompted Sidhu to leave the post of the Punjab Congress chief.
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Punjab Cabinet expansion: 15 MLAs to be made ministers in CM Channi-led Congress govt, say sources
The much anticipated Punjab cabinet expansion will take place today (September 26). After holding marathon meetings with the Congress high command, the list of ministers for the new cabinet, under the leadership of Chief Minister Charanjeet Singh Channi has been finalised, sources said.
Of the three meetings, two meetings were held at Rahul Gandhi’s residence within a span of 24 hours. The meetings continued till late at night.
All the ministers are likely to take oath in Chandigarh at 4:30 pm on Sunday at the Punjab Governor House.
Punjab Cabinet expansion: Here’s the list of probable ministers likely to be inducted in the Channi-led govt
- Brahm Mohindra
- Manpreet Singh Badal
- Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa
- Sukhbinder Singh Sarkarika
- Rana Gurjit Singh
- Aruna Chaudhary
- Razia Sultana
- Bharat Bhushan Ashu
- Vijay Inder Singhla
- Randeep Singh Nabha
- Raj Kumar Verka
- Sangat Singh Gilzian
- Pargat Singh
- Amarinder Singh Raja Warring
- Gurkirat Singh Kotli
- Kuljit Nagra
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