Two months after the Moga molestation case involving another bus owned by Punjab's ruling family, Thursday's accident in Rupnagar again brought the state opposition leaders together in protest against the "Badal raj".
State Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa, was at the protest site with colleague Sukhpal Singh Khaira and party legislators Jagmohan Singh Kang (Kharar), Balbir Singh Sidhu (SAS Nagar), and Charanjit Singh Channi (Chamkaur Sahib). Channi remained at the spot all day. Lakhwinder Kaur Garcha, legislator Gurkirat Singh Kotli, former legislator Shamsher Singh Rai, and state party OBC cell chairman Gurinder Pal Billa were the other Congress leaders who addressed the protesters.
Communist Party of India (CPI) leader Joginder Dyal, Aam Aadmi Party's Himmat Singh Shergill, and CPI (Marxist) leader Darshan Singh Mattu also spoke against the "deterioration of law and order in Punjab". "The chief minister, who is supposed to protect all subjects of the state, is protecting only his son (deputy CM Sukhbir Badal)," said Dayal.
"In spite of being a leader from Rupnagar, Bharatiya Janata Party minister Madan Mohan Mittal didn't visit Thursday's accident scene. He has benefitted so much from this area but all in terms of his fortunes. He is not with people when they need him," said the communist leader.
In a statement issued on Friday here, senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Ambika Soni accused that state bureaucracy of serving the financial interests of the Badal family. "The entire government machinery came together to save the driver of a Badal bus. An innocent car driver was pressurised to take the blame," she said.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) state general secretary Rajinder Singh Raja and Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar) leader Kuldeep Singh Bhagowal also joined the protest.
Commuters were a harassed lot on Friday, as protesters blocked traffic on the national highway near Behrampur Zimidara village and the Rupnagar-Morinda road.
The police diverted all traffic through Chamkaur Sahib. Bringing heavy vehicles on to narrow roads caused massive traffic jams at several places. Commuters said that many buses on these routes had been cancelled. The police put their barricades far from the blockade sites and didn't let any vehicle through. Traffic on the Ropar-Chandigarh road was blocked at Kharar itself. Students who had to reach colleges on that road couldn't proceed. At some of these checkpoints, motorists were arguing with the cops, as have heavy vehicles, including trucks and tippers, were parked nearby.