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