Justifying the appointment of Justice Jai Singh Sekhon (retd) as lokpal, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said on Sunday that "his highness of Patiala" Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh was criticising the move as the latter presently had nothing else to do.
Badal said justice Sekhon's appointment was based on merit. "The entire procedure was followed by clearing the file from the Vidhan Sabha speaker, chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court and then the governor," he said, stating that in the Lokpal Act of Punjab, there was no provision to take consent from the leader of the Opposition, as demanded by Amarinder.
"The state has to follow the Acts and the law, not the Captain's advice. The Captain is frustrated these days with his own party (Congress) and is unleashing this anger by criticising the Akali-BJP government. The Captain must utilise his free time for the good of the state," Badal said, calling Amarinder a habitual critic. "If the Captain needs a copy of rules of the Lokpal's appointment, I will send him one. But he must issue statements after proper home work," Badal advised the PPCC president.
Badal was talking to mediapersons while paying homage to Subedar Kartar Singh Dhaliwal, father of rural development minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, on his 15th death anniversary.
About the fact that justice Sekhon is the brother of Punjab cabinet minister Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Badal said, "Justice Sekhon had remained the district and sessions judge. He was then elevated to the high court after proper screening and by following the procedure for the appointment of HC judges. At that time, too, he was the minister's brother. The selection is based on merit and one should not read between the lines," he said.
Badal also lashed out at the Congress for interfering in Sikh religious issues. He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh must intervene to stop the amendment to the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) Act, passed by the Delhi government for direct election of the committee president.
"The Congress leadership's sole aim for this amendment is to extend benefit to DSGMC chief Paramjit Singh Sarna and his coterie, who are working at the Congress leadership's behest to weaken the Panth," he said.
The CM said there had been no scam in the distribution of grants in his home district, Muktsar, claiming that grants were given to needy persons. Such grants are also given to Abohar, the constituency of Congress MLA Sunil Jakhar, who has been demanding a probe into the "scam", he added.
Paying tributes to Subedar Dhaliwal, the chief minister recalled the outstanding services rendered by him towards the nation while serving in the army. He also lauded the philanthropic services provided by the Rakhra charitable trust, especially the upbringing of destitute and orphaned children.
Advice for Malwainder
During the press conference, Parkash Singh Badal gave a piece of advice to Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh's younger brother Malwinder Singh, who had joined the Shiromani Akali Dal before the January 30 assembly elections and had recently expressed anguish over "ill-treatment" meted out to him by the SAD. "Aap hi himmat karni paindi hai… politics ch sab nu apna kam aap karna paida hai (One has to make one's own way in politics)," he advised Malwinder.