Education minister Sikander Singh Maluka on Friday refuted the allegations levelled by the People's Party of Punjab (PPP) and the Congress of his involvement in the attack on PPP leader Lakhvir Singh Lakha Sidhana and his supporters at an election rally at Adampura village of Rampura Phul on Tuesday.
Suspecting the attack as an outcome of a rivalry between the Congress and the PPP, Maluka said he was ready for any probe. "I am ready for any probe. They can get the case investigated from any agency. I will quit politics if they find my involvement or that of my family," said Maluka while addressing a press conference here.
"I invite PPP chief Manpreet Badal and state Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa to prove the allegations levelled against me, or quit politics," said Maluka.
When asked about the threat to his life apprehended by Manpreet Badal, Maluka said, "Manpreet is politically dead and is no threat to us. If we have to kill someone, we will kill him politically and not physically."
He accepted that Lakha remained in touch with him during Lakha's college days but he refused there was a rivalry with Lakha. Maluka said, "Why should I have anything against Lakha? In fact, his contesting the assembly elections benefited me. He bagged the anti-vote and helped me in winning the seat. We welcome others parties too to contest as it is in our favour. I never had any rivalry with Lakha."
He said, "I have come to know that Malwa zone Congress vice-president Gurpreet Kangar was also present in the village at the time of the attack. Surprisingly, he was not present at the election rally despite the seat being a do-or-die situation for Kangar as the SAD candidates have already won unopposed on two seats in Rampura Phul. I do not know what was going on there."
He said, "According to my information, the people who attacked Lakha voted for the Congress in the elections and they had an old rivalry. So it seems a case of rivalry between the Congress and PPP workers."
When asked if it was the failure of the Bathinda police that around 25 people were moving with arms just three days before the elections and the police had no intimation of their motives, Maluka said, "Such incidents take place all over the country, elections or no elections. Criminals don't care for police or for anyone else and do what they like."