Two days after he was unceremoniously dropped by the Shiromani Ajkali Dal (SAD) as Kartarpur candidate in the first list released on Wednesday , former jails minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur joined the Congress in the presence of its state chief Capt Amarinder Singh here on Friday.
Phillaur, who resigned from the party and as a legislator on Thursday , hit out at the ruling Badals and revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia—brother-in-law of SAD president and deputy CM Sukhbir Badal—saying he “lorded” over all mafias in the state. “It is not the same SAD that was formed on strong principles. It has forgotten them. This government is run by dacoits and mafias. And it is Majithia who heads these mafias,” Phillaur said while addressing mediapersons in Chandigarh.
Playing the Dalit card, Phillaur said he was asked to resign as minister after his son, Damanvir Phillaur, and later he too was summoned by the enforcement directorate (ED) in the Bhola drug case, for being “weak and a Dalit”. He said all the accused who were questioned by the ED had named Majithia as the kingpin in the case. “We were not asked, else we would also have named Majithia,” he said in response to a question.
“I am a Dalit and am not from a family of landlords. My father was a labourer. I and my son were both framed in the false case by leaders from within the government. We both were summoned six times and questioned for six long hours while Majithia was just summoned once as a formality. The Akali government is trying to protect the minister. We were asked to furnish documents which we had already furnished. But the ED was fair. We were not named in the challans filed by the investigating agency in court after two-year-long inquiry. Par sade te apni hi party de lokan ne badnami da daag la dita (but people from my own party stigmatised me),” he said.
Asked on why was he speaking against his party and Majithia now after being denied the ticket, Phillaur said he had remained loyal to his party for 40 years. “But I was punished for being loyal. Even some opposition Congress leaders and Aam Aadmi Party leader Bhagwant Mann stood by me when I was made to resign by my own party. I asked why Majithia too was not being asked to do so? I was allotted a house in Sector 2, Chandigarh, as official residence as a minister, but Majithia took it,” he said.
Phillaur was, however, elusive when asked if he was accusing Majithia of framing him and his son. “I had said on the floor of the House that I have been falsely implicated and the government should find out who is behind it,” he said.
Welcoming Phillaur into the party fold, Amarinder said neither Phillaur nor his son’s name figured in any of the three challans filed by the ED. “Parkash Singh Badal’s hold on the party is fast disappearing and Sukhbir now calls the shots. Sukhbir has systematically finished his father’s erstwhile kitchen cabinet, of which Phillaur too was a part. Another loyalist Gurdev Badal is sick but no one from the ruling family has bothered to pay him a visit. Only Bhunder (Rajya Sabha MP Balwinder Singh Bhunder) is left. His days too are numbered,” Amarinder said.