Punjab Congress chief changes tune, attacks Badals over drugs issue

  • Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 22, 2016 14:51 IST
Punjab state Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh has attacked the Badals and revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia over the drugs issue. (Pardeep Pandit/HT File Photo)

Punjab state Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh appears to have altered his reconciliatory stance on the Badals and revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia over the drugs issue, barely six months before the state goes to polls next year.

Amarinder’s recent aggression against the Badals and Majithia is widely being seen as a deviation from his position in 2014, when he had virtually given a clean chit to Majithia in the drug trafficking row by going against his party colleagues then state unit chief Partap Singh Bajwa.

He had argued that a person is innocent until proven guilty, and also opposed his party’s demand for transferring the drug racket case from the state police to the CBI on the ground that it would mean playing into the hands of criminals and vested interests.

But that was two years ago, and Amarinder appeared to be singing a different tune at a rally in Baba Bakala in Amritsar on August 18. He blamed chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, his son Sukhbir Singh Badal and Majithia for “pushing” the state into drugs.

The former CM promised that once the Congress forms the government in Punjab, he will “set Majithia right as he is responsible for destroying and devastating an entire generation”.

Amarinder’s political rivals claim that the shift is due to Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal’s pledge to arrest Majithia for allegedly smuggling drug. “If Majithia has the courage, he should get me arrested within six months. Otherwise, after six months, I will get him arrested,” Kejriwal said in Amritsar last month.

Close aides of Amarinder, however, have jumped to his defence.

“He has identified Badals as enemy No 1 of Punjab. Timing is of great essence. It is better to say appropriate things at appropriate time to convey the right message. Otherwise it loses the punch,” Vimal Sumbly told HT. “There is no ambiguity about his stand on Badals. His tenure between 2002 and 2007 is an example. He holds Badals responsible for all current ills like corruption, drugs, fake FIRs, unemployment, weakening of Punjab’s case on SYL in the Supreme Court and farmers’ plight.”

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