The Punjab chief minister said his state was made to pay a heavy price for deployment of Central para military forces.
Following the arrest of Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira in a drug-related case, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal reaffirmed his party’s commitment to the INDIA alliance but emphasized that anyone involved in drugs would not be spared.
During a press conference, Kejriwal stated, “We are fully committed to the India alliance. We will not separate from the alliance under any circumstances. I have learned that the Punjab Police arrested some Congress leader yesterday. I do not have its details; Punjab Police will provide those. But we have waged a war against drugs. I would not like to comment on any individual case or person, but we are committed to ending drug addiction. In this battle against drugs, no matter how influential or insignificant a person may be, they will not be exempt.”
Punjab Police arrested Khaira from his Chandigarh residence earlier in connection with a 2015 case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
The Punjab Congress has criticized the Bhagwant Mann government, alleging political vendetta in Khaira’s arrest.
“I want to condemn Bhawant Mann’s action. Mann thinks he will be in the government forever, but he is wrong; everyone has to go, and his government will also go,” said Punjab Congress senior leader Partap Singh Bajwa.
Punjab Congress President Amrinder Singh Raja Warring called it vendetta politics and raised concerns about the treatment of Khaira while in custody.
Responding to the opposition’s allegations, Punjab AAP spokesperson Jagtar Singh Dyalpura maintained that the Mann government has a zero-tolerance policy against drug smugglers and argued that there is substantial evidence against Khaira, with international links in the case.
Khaira’s arrest is likely to strain the relations between AAP and Congress, which have formed the INDIA alliance at the national level. The Punjab state unit of Congress has opposed any collaboration or seat-sharing arrangement with AAP in Punjab.