Members of the Punjab Youth Congress (PYC), on Sunday, led by former president of Mansa district unit of Youth Congress Gurpreet Singh, blocked the Bathinda-Mansa road near Baidesa village to protest against the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) for levelling allegations against MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring.
Warring, who has been elevated as the national president of the Youth Congress, has been accused by senior leaders of the SAD of having links with drug peddlers.
Akali ministers, including Sikander Singh Maluka, Tota Singh and Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, have alleged that the Youth Congress leader was "a close associate of Gurlal Singh, a notorious drug lord and kingpin of a drug trafficking network spread across northern India". They claimed that Gurlal, during investigations, had admitted to his close links with Warring.
"We condemn the statement by the SAD ministers, who are accusing the MLA of links with the drug lord. Mr Warring is a very hard working and down-to-earth person and he has no such links with anyone. We demand a CBI enquiry into the case as the district police has concocted the whole story after arresting drug peddler Gurlal Singh. They deliberately inserted the MLA's contact number in Gurlal's cellphone," said Gurpreet Singh, who led protesters to block the road for one hour.
The protesters also alleged that the BJP is also hand-in-glove with the SAD in protecting Majithia in the drug case.
"During the no-confidence motion in the assembly, the BJP supported the SAD and that shows their double standards while dealing with the drug menace in the state," said Rahul Rupal, one of the protesters.
When contacted, MLA Warring also criticised the statement of the SAD leaders and claimed that it was an attempt to divert the attention of the people from Majithia's appearance before the Enforcement Directorate. "The police could not find any case against me in any drug case. I have also said that the CBI should take up the case and find the whole truth," said Warring. He also said that he would try to build the bridges between various factions in the state unit of the Congress.
However, factionalism in the Congress seemed to have seeped to the district level, as MLA of Sardulgarh Ajit Inder Singh Mofar downplayed the protest despite criticising the Shrimoni Akali Dal. "Gurpreet Singh, who has led the protest, is an opportunist and he doesn't hold any position in the party. He is just trying to get close to the Youth Congress president."
A similar protest, led by Khushbaz Singh Jattana, president the Youth Congress of Bathinda Lok Sabha segment, was held at Rama Mandi in Bathinda.
Speaking on the occasion, Jattana said, "The charges against Warring are totally false as this is an 8-month-old issue when his name cropped up in a drug case. However, he was issued a clean chit by the senior superintendent of Mansa. Now, he has been announced the Youth Congress president, so SAD is criticising to defame him. Two assembly sessions have passed, but no one raised the issue," said Khushbaz.