Taking a serious note of leader of the opposition Sunil Jakhar's statement asking ministers of the UPA government to take the Punjab Congress into confidence before dealing with the state government, the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has said that the demand is totally illegal, unconstitutional and highly unjustified.
"The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee must know that it is not above the elected state government," said SAD secretary and spokesman Dr Daljit Singh Cheema. "It appears that the Punjab Congress, instead of dealing with public issues, is banking on the support of the central government for its survival in state politics," quipped Cheema.
He said the meeting between union minister Ajay Maken and Jakhar and the latter's subsequent statement was the second "unconstitutional" action in recent days. "The state Congress leadership recently protested against union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde during his Amritsar visit for not dealing with local Congress leaders first before meeting Punjab government representatives," Cheema said.
Cheema said founders of the Constitution had clearly demarcated the duties of the union and state governments and their mutual conduct, but the Punjab's Congress leadership was trying to defy the established protocol and creating hindrance in the development process initiated by the SAD-BJP government.
He stated that at a time when Centre-state relations were already at the lowest ebb and many state governments were demanding re-shaping of these relations, these actions of the state leadership were bound to further erode the confidence between the two governments.
The SAD spokesman stated that before the assembly elections in Punjab, PPCC president Capt Amarinder Singh had written a letter to the Prime Minister to not issue grants to the state and had also urged industrialists not to invest in the state. "It seems that it has become the one-point programme of the Congress to oppose the state's interests at the Centre," said Cheema, adding that actions of the Congress leaders further vindicated the feelings of the people of the state that the party was wary of facing the Lok Sabha polls and hence resorting to cheap political tactics. Cheema asked the Punjab Congress to behave in a responsible manner and work for the betterment of the state and its people instead of causing loss to it.