Hoshiapur MP and newly appointed union minister of state Vijay Sampla on Saturday refrained from endorsing Punjab BJP president Kamal Sharma and national secretary Tarun Chugh’s demand for the resignation of chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) and SAD MLA Avinash Chander after his name cropped up in drug racket investigations.
Sampla, who was welcomed upon his arrival in the city after his induction as union minister of state, remained evasive on the issue raised by the state BJP.
When the media tried to grill him over the issue after the other local leaders such as CPS KD Bhandari and mayor Sunil Jyoti persuaded him to support party’s stand, Sampla only said, “I do not oppose the demand. I do not oppose the party line.”
Despite repeated queries, he refused to say he fully supported the demand.
He, however, said the SAD-BJP alliance would fight the municipal elections together. About the serious allegations levelled by Amritsar district BJP president and other leaders against Akali leaders that mafia was running the government, Sampla again said, “Please ask soft questions.”
Factionalism came to the fore as among senior leaders only former minister and Jalandhar Central MLA Manoranjan Kalia came to welcome Sampla.
A parallel show organised by state minister Chunni Lal Bhagat to welcome Sampla remained a damp squib as the former was with a handful of party workers.
All leaders owing allegiance to state party chief Kamal Sharma group such as CPS KD Bhandari, mayor Sunil Jyoti and district BJP chief Subhash Sood welcomed the union minister without much enthusiasm.
Even the SAD leaders participated in the event as a mere formality with its leaders such as district unit chief Gursharan Channi and CPS Pawan Tinu appearing to welcome Sampla for formality sake.