With the Aam Aadmi Party turning the heat on the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal in the Delhi polls on the drugs issue, an enterprising news channel on Thursday decided to humour the Akalis with a little rumour.
The day the hectic electioneering in Delhi was to come to an end, the channel flashed the news about Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia receiving a “clean chit” from the enforcement directorate (ED) that is probing his role in the multi-crore drugs case. Some news portals were quick to pick the “breaking news”.
It was the news the SAD ministers had been waiting for long and they could not wait to seek a “public apology and penance” from the opposition Congress. It started with minister Sohan Singh Thandal hailing the ED’s decision, followed by chief parliamentary secretary Virsa Singh Valtoha claiming the clean chit had exposed the conspiracy of the Congress.
Finally, the party issued a statement by ministers Tota Singh and Sikander Singh Maluka, demanding that the Congress leaders who had pointed their accusing fingers at Majithia tender a public apology and seek penance from Almighty for the damage done to the image of not just the minister “from a family with a great past” but also the state.
The opposition Congress, however, was in no mood to seek penance. It did a reality check and found the news to be a “poll spoof”. It was then the turn of Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa to “come down heavily on the Akali Dal-BJP government for planting the report in view of the Delhi elections, claiming the drug menace in Punjab had emerged as a major issue there”.
In a statement, Bajwa said, “The news leak and reactions of the Akali Dal ministers indicate a well-thought-out design behind this operation, which was aimed at removing the drug taint on the Akali Dal which is contesting the election in Delhi on four seats in alliance with the BJP. The saffron party, too, has conspired with its ally as almost every poll survey is predicting a downslide for the BJP. The experiment will boomerang on them.”
As the political drama unfolded, the media frenzy outside its office forced even the reticent ED to debunk the “clean chit” theory. In the end, the rumour ended up humouring the opposition more than the Akalis. firstname.lastname@example.org