Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Partap Singh Bajwa has demanded that the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) clear its stand on five issues, namely the demand for the transfer of Chandigarh to Punjab, the drug menace in the state, displaced Punjabi farmers in Gujarat, former MP Navjot Singh Sidhu's allegations against the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), and the strained SAD-BJP ties.
Addressing a press conference at the party office here after the oath-taking ceremony of newly-appointed district Congress chief Gurpreet Gogi, he said if Sidhu was really against the SAD's policies in Punjab, he should ask his wife, chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Navjot Kaur Sidhu, to resign. Sidhu had hit out at the SAD while campaigning in Haryana during the assembly elections.
He said BJP leaders should clarify whether they would support the demand for transferring Chandigarh to Punjab before Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On the formation of the BJP government in Haryana, he said the waters dispute and other issues could be resolved if Punjab BJP leaders took the initiative.
He also asked the BJP to clear its stand on the drug menace, while demanding a CBI inquiry into the Jagdish Singh Bhola drug racket. Bajwa recalled that Modi had announced before the Lok Sabha elections that he wanted to see a drug-free Punjab.
"Main accused Bhola had named SAD leaders, including Bikram Singh Majithia and Sarwan Singh Phillaur, in the drug racket. If the BJP wants to see Punjab free of drugs, it should demand that the Centre order a CBI inquiry into the case," said Bajwa.
"BJP leaders in the state are equally involved in supporting the drug menace, sand mafia and scams. Actually, the BJP wants to do a repeat of Maharashtra in Punjab. They snapped their alliance with the Shiv Sena before the elections, but now they are all set to form the government together. The saffron party should clear its stand on this issue too," he claimed.
He added that the Congress would start a statewide drive against drug menace from November 14, during which party leaders would make door-to-door visits.
The PPCC chief said state BJP leaders should take up with the PM the issue of 15,000 Punjabi farmers who had been displaced due to the Gujarat government's policies.
He claimed that more than 18,000 factories had been closed in Punjab during the past seven-and-a-half years. "Now, since the NDA is in power at the Centre, it should take steps for the improvement of industry in the state. The industries were running well during 2002-07, when Capt Amarinder Singh was the chief minister," he said.