Coming in defence of newly appointed Congress in-charge for Punjab Asha Kumari, state party chief Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday said her conviction had been stayed by the high court.
“She had been granted bail as many points in the case required argument. It’s still an open case,” said Amarinder, reacting to the allegations of the BJP, AAP and Akalis that the Congress had fallen short of leaders with clean image and a leader convicted in a land-grab case had been appointed as party’s Punjab in-charge.
A junior to Amarinder, Asha was appointed party’s in-charge replacing Kamal Nath on Sunday. Nath had to resign after Akalis and the AAP raised hue and cry over his alleged role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
Trying to underplay Asha’s conviction, Amarinder said: “Even Akali minister Tota Singh and Bibi Jagir Kaur have been convicted for serious offences. BJP’s Navjot Singh Sidhu is also out on bail and AAP legislators have been arrested,” he said, adding that those crying hoarse against Asha were no “sacred cows”.
“Why leaders of Punjab are taking high moral ground? Only because elections are round the corner, no one raised the voice when she was made co-incharge of Haryana,” Amarinder said.
The state Congress chief took no qualms in saying that he played a vital role in Asha’s appointment as the Punjab in-charge. “The high command consulted me before her appointment. Her political credentials are good and she is a hardworking leader,” he said.
Dubbed as a “lightweight” leader by state Congress leaders, her appointment suits Amarinder, who had said she would not create problems in Punjab.
Speaking on Asha’s tiff with the Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh, Amarinder said it was Congress’ internal matter.
Punjab has bigger issues: Jakhar
When asked to comment on the charges levelled by opposition parties that Congress was short of a leader with a clean image, state Congress vice-president Sunil Jakhar said there were other serious issues in the state which the opposition should focus on. “The state is battling with drug problem and unemployment. The opposition parties should focus on these aspects,” he added.
Cong hits back at BJP
NEW DELHI: Defending Asha Kumari’s appointment despite her conviction in an alleged land-grab case, the Congress on Monday hit back at the BJP for its criticism on the issue, saying “Amit Shah is an accused in a murder case and is out on bail”.
“Karnataka BJP chief BSYeddyurappa is accused of corruption. Ten cases are pending against Keshav Prasad Maurya who has been made BJP chief in Uttar Pradesh,” party spokesman Kapil Sibal told reporters, adding “Congress can never even think of appointing a murder accused as its chief”.
He alleged some BJP ministers in Gujarat continued to occupy their posts despite being “convicted” by courts.
He said the matter involving Asha Kumari was a “highly complicated and complex” land issue and “not a case of murder and graft”. PTI