The SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab took another hit on Wednesday with local bodies minister and BJP leader Anil Joshi “blaming” revenue minister and SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia’s “team” led by SAD chief parliamentary secretary Harmeet Singh Sandhu for the alleged attack on his brother at Tarn Taran on Tuesday.
Addressing a press conference a day after the alleged attack on his brother Raja Joshi, Anil Joshi said if his family is harmed in any way in the coming days, deputy chief minister-cum-home minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, Majithia and Sandhu should be squarely held responsible.
Demanding a judicial probe into the alleged attack, the minister released the footage of five Akali men assaulting his brother and firing at him at the Tarn Taran DC office complex in full public view and police presence.
Openly naming Majithia, Joshi said those who attacked his brother were Sandhu’s men. Both Sandhu and chief parliamentary secretary Virsa Singh Valtoha are in Majithia’s team.
Joshi, Valtoha, Sandhu and Majithia are all MLAs from Majha. At one time, Sandhu, Majithia and Joshi were considered close. However, the relations between Joshi and Majithia have soured with the latest set of differences cropping up over the seats and candidates for the Tarn Taran municipal council polls to be held on February 25.
The BJP minister’s allegations come at a time when the SAD-BJP alliance in the state was seen to have “patched up” after several months of acrimony between the two parties following the Lok Sabha polls.
When asked why he had not resigned to show his resentment, Joshi said he had taken up the matter with state party chief Kamal Sharma and would meet national party president Amit Shah as well.
“I’ve told Sharma that they should review the BJP’s alliance with the SAD in the state. For the sake of four ministries and a handful of other posts, if our men are going to be treated like this, then we need to take a call on continuing the alliance. I appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and union home minister Rajnath Singh to take a serious note of the incident,” he said.
Showing a video of the firing incident, the minister gave details of the five Akali men who entered the complex and allegedly shot at his brother. Joshi’s brother was in the DC office to get corrections made in the voter list for the forthcoming council polls. “The attackers include former Akali councillors of the Tarn Taran municipal council and Akali candidates for the polls now,” he claimed.
The video showed several men, at least three of them carrying pistols, fire towards Joshi’s brother and throw him down on the road. One of them was then seen grabbing Joshi’s pistol and walking away. The group of men then fought with the onlookers before being forced out of the complex by the police.
The footage also shows the city SHO on the spot initially smiling and only later ordering his men to control the attackers.
Demanding an independent judicial probe into the incident, Joshi said the local police had registered a case on his brother’s complaint, but it did not include sections of attempted murder and planned conspiracy to kill him. “The SSP has not been fair. If this is the security a minister’s brother has in Punjab, one can well imagine the state of the common man,” he added.