Dismissing Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s denial of involvement in illegal sand mining as a total lie, Punjab Lok Congress (PLC) chief Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday said as CM, he (Amarinder) had received specific inputs that Channi had a share in the mafia, along with several other Congress leaders and legislators in Punjab.
“From top to bottom, right up to the level of senior ministers, many people were involved, as I had told Sonia Gandhi (Congress president) while I was CM. She asked me what action I was taking in the matter, and I told her I will have to start from the top. The one and only mistake I made during my entire tenure was that I did not take any action then, out of my sense of loyalty to the Congress, since I did not get a go-ahead from Sonia,” said Amarinder, who quit Congress to form his own party (PLC).
While Channi’s involvement in the mining mafia and in the #metoo incident had exposed him as a contemptible character unworthy of ruling Punjab, Navjot Sidhu’s mental instability made him totally unfit to run the state, said Amarinder, dismissing both the Congress leaders as utterly useless.
Expressing surprise at what Rahul Gandhi saw in these people, he said the Congress decision to sideline him for such men was inexplicable.
In an interview to a TV channel, Amarinder spoke in detail about Channi’s #metoo case, which he said was not pursued by the lady in question as she accepted the then minister’s apology. Had she wanted to pursue the case, I would have taken action against Channi, he said, adding that his only role in the matter was to ask Channi to apologise to the woman officer, which he did and the apology was duly accepted by the lady.
The former CM said none of the CM faces or prospective CM candidates had the mental acumen to think Punjab’s future. “How can a man who claims to actually talk to God an hour each in the morning and evening be stable?” asked Amarinder, referring to Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
As for Aam Aadmi Party’s CM nominee Bhagwant Mann, the PLC chief labeled him an out-and-out comedian, which Punjab, with its 600 kilometer long border with Pakistan, definitely did not need.
He said Badals and their Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), who were responsible for the 2015 sacrilege cases as well as Punjab’s drug and mafia menace, were also not suitable for the state. The former CM ruled out any post-poll tie-up with either Congress or AAP, saying the PLC had a clear alliance with BJP and SAD (Sanyukt), which will definitely win the elections.
Referring to the security breach during the Prime Minister’s visit to Punjab, the PLC leader said thanks to Channi, the state had lost out on Rs 43,000 crore worth of projects which the PM had intended to announce.
Given Pakistan’s military capability and capacity to fire artillery shells up to 35 kms (and the PM was stuck on a bridge just 10 kms from the border), there was a serious risk, for which Channi and his government were solely responsible, he added.