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Chandigarh, July 3 – A war of words erupted between Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and BJP leader Capt Amarinder Singh after the former asserted that the government will not pay Rs 55 lakh spent on the “lavish” stay of dreaded criminal Mukhtar Ansari in jails of the state.
The money, he added, will be recovered from Capt Amarinder Singh and former deputy chief Sukhjinder Randhawa.
Chief Minister Mann went to the extent of saying that if they failed to pay up the money, their pension and other benefits will be stopped to recover the money.
Responding to the statement, Capt Amarinder Singh asked Mann to learn the process of law and investigation before issuing such statements as it only exposes his ignorance about governance.
Capt Amarinder said he had served as the Chief Minister for nine-and-a-half years, while Mann has not even completed one-and-a-half years. He should better first learn and gain experience before making such ignorant statements about the processes of governance, the former Congress leader stated.
He said Ansari was brought to Punjab and detained here under due process of law for the investigation. “Where does the Chief Minister or for that matter the Jails’ Minister (Sukhjinder Randhawa) come into the picture,” he asked Mann, while advising him to brush up his knowledge of legal and investigative processes before making such funny statements which will only end up in his (Mann) cutting a sorry figure in the public.
Joining the political discourse, the Chief Minister said history is testimony to the fact that the self proclaimed ‘wiseness’ of the Patiala scion has ruined the state.
In a statement here, the Chief Minister said the entire Punjab knows that Captain (Amarinder Singh) had always been bothered about his chair rather than the state and its people.
By confining himself to palaces, the Captain has totally ignored the interests of the state during his days in power.
Mann said it is a fact that Captain has a lineage of backstabbing Punjab and Punjabis.
The Chief Minister was categorically clear in saying that no Punjabi can ever forget that forefathers of Captain had sided with Mughals and Britishers for their vested interests, adding they had committed countless atrocities on the patriots fighting for country’s freedom during the British regime.
Toeing the line of his ancestors, Mann said, the former Chief Minister had hobnobbed with the Congress and Akalis whenever it suited his political interests.
Mann said now again he has decided to join hands with the anti-Punjab and anti-farmers BJP despite the fact that the saffron party is responsible for martyrdom of more than 700 farmers during agitation against draconian farm laws.
The Chief Minister said the ‘power hungry’ Captain had switched sides only for sake of power which is quite similar to what his ancestors did during the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919 by siding with Britishers.
Meanwhile, Leader of the Opposition and Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa ridiculed the Chief Minister by saying he has never remained silent on the issues concerning the interests of Punjab. On the contrary, it is the Aam Aadmi Party-led government that attempted to dilute Punjab’s claim on the capital and river waters.
Bajwa said the AAP government had already surrendered Punjab’s right over Chandigarh. Mann has yet to delete his July 9, 2022, tweet in which he demanded a piece of land in Chandigarh from the Centre for a separate Punjab Vidhan Sabha.
This means Mann still owns his statement in that tweet, which actually weakens Punjab’s case, said Bajwa. “Besides this, the AAP government never presented the case of Punjab’s rights on its river waters strongly enough. In a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah in July 2022, the AAP government’s cabinet ministers Harjot Singh Bains and Harpal Singh Cheema demanded a new tribunal for assessing the state’s river water that weakened Punjab’s rights on river waters.
“Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann never cited riparian law to claim Punjab’s rights on river waters in meetings held lately,” Bajwa added.
Unleashing a volley of questions at Mann, Bajwa said that he (Mann) must explain now what had he done so far to ensure that the state government was working on its own without the intervention from the ‘pawns’ sent by the AAP Delhi in Punjab.
“Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, in reality, is nothing more than a rubber stamp. It is the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal who has been running the Punjab government through his close confidants,” Bajwa added.