It was a day that saw an unusual 'alliance' between the ruling Akalis and the opposition Congress. Both the Shiromani Akali Dal and former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh indulged in open bashing of Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa at separate press conferences.
During a press conference, Amarinder admitted to writing to Congress president Sonia Gandhi against Bajwa, though he refused to reveal the letter's contents. The letter had been highlighted in an HT report ('Bajwa smuggled drugs: Capt as PCC chief wrote to Sonia', January 12).
"I have written many letters to my party president in the past 16 years. I wrote this letter nearly nine months before I was removed as the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief. But it is privileged information and I cannot share it with anyone," he said.
On Bajwa stating that the demand to hand over the investigation into the drug nexus be handed over to the CBI, Amarinder said it could be the party line, but he could have his own opinion on the matter. "I do not endorse the stand to hand over the probe to the CBI. If only the Punjab Police were involved, no one would have had any faith in them. But as many as six central agencies, too, are involved in the investigations.
Not one of these six agencies will try to save Punjab revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia. If after two months, it appears that they have not been able to do the job well, the case can still be handed over to the CBI. And no one, howsoever influential, should be spared. In fact, they should be penalised in the most severe manner," he added.
Asked if he was in favour of the investigations staying with the Punjab Police as they may go after Bajwa, he said he did not think they may purposely target someone.
Sidelights Poaching game on
Brought to the Congress on the eve of the 2012 assembly polls from the People's Party of Punjab, former Faridkot MLA Kushladeep Dhillon was seated on the dais with Amarinder during the press conference. Appointed PPCC general secretary first by Amarinder and now by Bajwa, Dhillon was being wooed by the latter. With the poaching game between the two sides to win loyalists, Amarinder showed that Dhillon was still firmly in his pack.
'Don't even recognise those appointed in PPCC'
Reacting to a question on whether he was opposing the newly-constituted Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee because the youth had been given a chance, Amarinder said other than Bajwa's, he could recognise just two more faces in the pictures of the PPCC meeting that were published in newspapers recently. "They are not youth but friends and relatives of Bajwa. They are all Bajwas. Giving prominence to the youth is important but not at the cost of merit and experience," he added.