Chandigarh, March 22 – The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said a constitutional crisis had erupted in Punjab with the leader of opposition party (LOP) Sukhpal Khaira surrendering before the Congress to save himself in a cross-border drug trafficking case and becoming the “B” team of the Congress party.
Addressing a press conference in the Vidhan Sabha press gallery, former minister Bikram Singh Majithia said the manner in which Sukhpal Khaira rose to support the Congress government in the Vidhan Sabha today when the issue of giving compensation to families of Punjabi youth killed in Iraq was raised by him had exposed the unholy nexus between the Congress party and the leader of opposition party.
Explaining the issue, Mr Majithia said yesterday Congress legislator Rana Gurmeet Sodhi had demanded that the Union government give Rs one crore compensation to family members of each of the 27 Punjabis killed in Iraq. “I took this issue forward because five of those killed belong to my constituency and requested that the state should give a matching grant as well as jobs to relatives of the deceased. The chief minister declined this request saying the State had announced a pension of Rs 20,000 per month as per policy. Instead of speaking up for the aggrieved families, Mr Sukhpal Khaira rose up to thank chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh for his magnanimity. For what did Khaira thank the CM? Also only Khaira knows what magnanimity the State has shown because even the Rs 20,000 pension promised to the families has not been given since the last six months. As stated earlier, I demand the State make an exception as done earlier in the case of Sarabjit Singh. They are our people and we cannot let them down”.
Stating that there was a wider conspiracy behind Sukhpal Khaira’s behavior, the former minister said Khaira tried to break the AAP State unit first in order to form a separate party. “The idea was to join the Congress along with all the legislators of the new party after his brother-in-law Justice (retd) Ranjit Singh submitted his report on sacrilege incidents which targets the SAD as part of a pre-meditated political plan. Khaira wanted a trigger to take the new group to the Congress and that’s why has demanded tabling of the report even today. However the AAP mlas saw through his game plan. Now Khaira will join the Congress. It is only a matter of few months”.
Stating that Khaira was playing a fixed match with the Congress party, Mr Majithia said this had become clear yesterday itself when he dined with the chief minister and senior leader Lal Singh acted as a intermediary between the two by relaying messages in both their ears. “This explains why Khaira has been siding with the Congress on a number of issues since the last two days”.
Speaking about Local Bodies minister Navjot Sidhu, the Akali leader said the former’s antics at the Congress party’s plenary session in which he parroted the same lines he had used to praise Shri Narendera Modi when in the BJP proved he was up for sale and was a crass opportunist. He said it was ironical that the Congress was congratulating Sidhu at the plenary session for insulting the party through crass comments like “Congress munni se jyada badnaam”.
Speaking at the conference, former finance minister Parminder Dhindsa said the government was refusing to discuss any of the burning issues of the State. He said yesterday the SAD had submitted an adjournment motion to discuss ‘kisan and khet mazdoor’ loan waiver but it was not allowed. Legislator Pawan Kumar Teenu said today the SAD submitted a resolution to demand loan waiver of dalits as well as the poor and disadvantaged but even this was not allowed. “We demand that Rs 125 crore worth loans taken by dalits from the SC Land Development and Finance Corporation be waived off. We also demand that cooperative loans taken by dalits be waived off immediately besides re-start of all welfare schemes with increased benefits as promised”.