The Congress has expressed sympathy with Amritsar's MP, Navjot Singh Sidhu of the rival BJP, and said "if this is the treatment meted out to a ruling-alliance parliamentarian, one can well imagine the plight of the opposition MPs and legislators".
Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa and state Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Sunil Kumar Jakhar on Sunday expressed these views individually when speaking with the media here. Along with former MP Jagmeet Singh Brar, legislators OP and Rana Gurjit Singh, and many other senior party leaders, the two leaders attended the "Bhog" ceremony of Joginder Singh Majithia, father of party colleague Sukhjinder Singh Lalli Majithia.
Bajwa said he had claimed all along that deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal was in the habit of making false statements. "Sidhu also has stated the same thing and exposed Sukhbir," he said. Referring to the Sidhu's demand for a judicial investigatino into the diversion of funds from Amritsar, Bajwa said: "You can never hope for justice from the Badals. I do not think the judicial investigation will lead anywhere."
Listing out the incomplete projects for which the deputy CM had laid foundation stones, the Punjab Congress president asked him if even one of these had materialised. He referred to the City Bus Service, Public Rapid Transport System (PRTS), solid-waste management, and the surveillance cameras project and a few others that the Bharatiya Janata Party MP had listed on Saturday.
"Amritsar is our Mecca, where tourists and pilgrims from all over the world flock. This is the way the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which calls itself a party representing Sikh, treats the city of the Golden Temple," he added. Two years ago, Bajwa had pointed out that the Central University allotted to Amritsar had been shifted to Bathinda and built in the ancestral village of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. "The Badal family pocketed the money sent by the union government as compensation for the land acquired for the university," said the Congress leader.
Bajwa avoided answering why the Congress in Majha had gone aggressive against the ruling alliance only after the outbursts of Sidhu. Later, he met senior party leaders from Amritsar district at the house of state Congress vice-president OP Soni. The party discussed the line of action to be adopted in the Majha belt, following the allegations of Sidhu against his own alliance's government in the state. Jakhar did not attend the meeting, as after the "Bhog" ceremony at Majitha, he was to catch a flight to New Delhi.
In a separate chat with the media, state CLP leader Sunil Jakhar said Sidhu had exposed the working of the state government and its discriminatory attitude.
"What Sidhu has said pertain to not one MP or city. Discrimination is throughout Punjab, in the allocation of money and projects, and in the handling of various problems," he said. Jakhar agreed with Bajwa that if a ruling party MP could be given "step-motherly treatment", the elected representatives of the opposition could expect little from the government.