2 Congress MPs Attack Own Govt Over Liquor Deaths in Punjab
CHANDIGRAH : Two senior Congress leaders of Punjab — Pratap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo have written to the Governor accusing their own government of being hand-in-glove with the state’s liquor mafia. The letter is a sharp reflection of the infighting within the Congress in one of the few states it currently rules.
In their letter to Governor VP Singh Badnore, the two Rajya Sabha members alleges a failure of the state’s “administrative machinery” which, they say, they have already flagged to the Chief Minister.
Smuggling of liquor during the lockdown, they said, cost the state Rs 2,700 crore. Besides, illegal distilleries have mushroomed across the state. Two of them were detected at Rajpura and Ghanaur, which were part of Patiala, the home district of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and the parliamentary constituency of his wife.
“Smuggling, functioning of illegal distilleries, production and circulation of spurious liquor cannot be done without the active connivance of officers if the Excise and Taxation Department as well as the police department,” their letter read. In the letter, they also pointed out that it is the Chief Minister who handles the Excise department as well as the crucial home ministry, which controls law and order.
108 people have died in across three districts of the state since last week after drinking hooch. The Congress government led by Amarinder Singh has since been under repeated attacks by the opposition BJP and the Aam Aadmi Party. So far, 37 people have been arrested in the case.
Industries & Commerce minister Sunder Sham Arora further said this is not the time to derive political mileage. The occasion demands that all the political parties come together on a single platform and present a united front.
Mr Bajwa has been at odds with Amainder Singh since he replaced the former as the chief of the party’s state unit. The other signatory of the letter, Shamsher Singh Dullo, is also a former president of the state Congress.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday suggested Delhi Chief Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Supremo Arvind Kejriwal to ‘mind his own business’ after the latter demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in the hooch tragedy, which has left around 100 people dead.
As per a statement from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO), Singh asked his Delhi counterpart to not exploit the tragic affair for reviving his “defunct” Aam Aadmi Party’s stake in the state.
He further alleged that Kejriwal’s demand for the CBI probe was nothing but a “political gimmick” aimed at regaining lost footfold for his party, which had lost ground in Punjab despite being the principal opposition party, the release quoted Punjab CM.
(Bureau Report with Agency Inputs ).