Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday asked Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi to conduct himself befitting the dignity of the office he holds and not allow “an extra-constitutional Super CM to treat him as a dummy and rubber stamp.”
Badal said this while replying to a question on the role of Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu in governmental decisions.“Let me just remind the CM that his party president Navjot Singh Sidhu begged for and got the same car from Captain Amarinder Singh and even Sonia and Rahul Gandhi to intervene to secure this. He is not in government but is still using the same car,” the
SAD chief said referring to Channi’s announcement to curtail his security cover in a bid to end VIP culture in the state.
Badal said Congress was insulting the scheduled caste population of the state by sending the message Channi is there only as a fifth choice and allowing him to be dominated not only by his own deputy CMs but even people outside the government.
In a lighter vein, Badal said Channi should be grateful to SAD whose decisions to have a deputy CM from the SC section forced Congress on the defensive, and Channi benefited by it.
Answering a media query on the reports that the government was planning to arrest some Akali leaders on “cooked up charges”, Badal said, “ We are ready. Don’t waste their own and the state’s time on this. Quench your vendetta thirst immediately. Tell us where you want us, and we will save your time and energy and come ourselves for arrest. They are targeting us because they know that their days are numbered and the Akali-BSP government is storming back to the office”.
Badal said the government was calling officers and offering them powerful posts in the police as a reward for their readiness to arrest Akali leaders. “Many of these officers have been calling us to tell us of the unprecedented pressure being put on them for this. I have told them not to let this worry them and do what the government tells them. But we will be watching who steps out of the Constitutional line,” the SAD leader said.
Badal said the Channi government wanted to cover its own contradictions and ineptitude with vendetta and high profile arrests. “But you cannot browbeat Akalis. You won’t succeed where even Indira Gandhi failed. From the day an Akali is born, he is ready for vendetta, repression and arrests. Fighting repression, vendetta and arrests are second nature to everyone born in an Akali family. Come, we are waiting for you, or tell us where to come,” he said.
Badal said that recent events within Congress have clearly shown that they are trying to divide Punjab along communal and caste lines, posing a danger to the multicultural and secular ethos of the state.
“The old Congress agenda of divide and rule is back,” he added. Earafter leading an Akali delegation to Governor Punjab on the farmer’s issues, Badal said shockingly inadequate compensation for the lands acquired and for the losses suffered by farmers especially in the Malwa belt as a result of disease and spurious seeds and pesticides.