Trouble Mounts for Punjab Congress as Sidhu Targets Channi Govt for Delay in Majithia’s Arrest
With the Punjab Police yet to arrest senior Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia booked in an old drugs case, serious differences are emerging within the Congress, with PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu publicly announcing his ‘displeasure’ over the delays and the opposition parties claiming a deliberate ‘weak FIR’ in the case.
The ruling Congress in Punjab has been facing internal squabbles and the latest to add on to the list is the delay in Majithia’s arrest. While the Punjab government has maintained that Majithia is not in the state, but it has given enough reason to Sidhu to take a dig at his own government all over again.
While Sidhu is saying the non-arrest of Majithia is leading to people losing confidence in the state government, opposition party Aam AAdmi Party (AAP) has said that the Charanjit Channi government is dithering because of a ‘weak FIR’.
The issue is snowballing into a major confrontation between Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and the Sidhu camp, and reacting to Sidhu’s jibes, state Home Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa has denied any deliberate delays in the arrest. He has even offered to step down if such charges are proved.
Randhawa was the one who had supported Sidhu during the ‘campaign’ to oust Captain Amarinder Singh. Party sources said that though Sidhu was aiming to fire salvos at the Chief Minister, he was also targeting Randhawa with whom in the recent days he has had differences.
Leaders close to Sidhu point out that the delay in arrest will give an opportunity to the opposition parties to accuse the Channi government of playing a ‘fixed’ match with the Akali leaders. But Channi camp claims delays are on account of technicality and that the Sidhu was trying to use the `issue’ for scoring points over his rivals within the party.
“It gives him another handle to beat the government with. More than targeting the Akalis on drugs issue, he is actually attacking the government which doesn’t send a right signal,” commented one leader in the Channi camp.
What added fuel to the fire was when the official page of Youth Akali Dal posted photos of Majithia at the Golden Temple but didn’t mention when these were clicked. Majithia, who is the brother-in-law of SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, has not been seen in public since he was booked by Punjab police under NDPS Act on December 20. The Punjab police have been conducting raids but have not been able to nab the Akali legislator. Majithia’s pre-arrest bail plea was rejected by Mohali court and Punjab and Haryana high court will hear the case next week.