Taking a jibe at Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on his announcement to convene assembly session to face no confidence motion, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal, on Monday, asked him not to “enact the drama of a confidence vote”, but order CBI or high court probe into his allegation against the BJP.
Badal said that bribery allegations the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) made could only be verified by an independent inquiry by the CBI or the high court and that no purpose could be served by calling a special session of the Assembly.
“We had forewarned Punjabis that the AAP government will ape its counterpart in Delhi who had also called a special session of the state assembly after allegedly ‘defeating’ attempts by the BJP to poach its legislators,” the SAD president said in a statement.
He highlighted that now the same was being done in Punjab at the expense of the state exchequer despite the fact that the government enjoyed a brute majority and there was no demand from it to subject itself to a confidence vote.
Asking the CM to give his nod for a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry or one monitored by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Badal said “If you have nothing to hide you should not be afraid of an independent probe into the bribery allegations”.
He said the very fact that AAP had called for a special session in the run up to the Assembly elections in Himachal and Gujarat indicated that it wanted to give the impression that while Congress legislators were saleable, its Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) had rebuffed attempts to purchase their loyalty.
Telling the CM to discuss real issues in the forthcoming Assembly session, Badal said issues like the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) canal crisis, the need to seek immediate transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab and the excise scam should be included in the agenda.
He alleged that Mann had weakened Punjab’s stance on the SYL canal by standing by meekly when AAP Convener Bhagwant Mann announced that Haryana and Delhi also had a right over the River waters of Punjab.
“This was not all. The chief minister did not oppose the Haryana government’s move seeking allotment of land to the State in Chandigarh for building a new Vidhan Sabha building,” Badal said.
He said the excise policy also needed to be discussed because it was tailor made to collect kickbacks of more than Rs 500 Crore at the expense of the State exchequer. “Appropriate resolutions in keeping with the sentiments of Punjabis should be taken up for approval on all these three issue”.
Alleging that these as well as other issues including the crisis in the agriculture sector due to the government’s refusal to compensate farmers for either crop damage, lumpy skin disease or the latest dwarf virus which was set to reduce yield of paddy should also be taken up for discussion in the special session. “Instead of doing all this, the AAP government and its chief minister are bent on doing politics by going in for a self congratulatory exercise”, Badal added.