After being cold-shouldered here at a college’s inaugural function that was presided over by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Union railway minister Suresh Prabhu, Punjab BJP chief Vijay Kumar Sampla refused to address the gathering apparently ‘as a mark of protest’.
The occasion was inauguration of Bhagat Namdev Degree College at Ghuman that falls under the Hoshiarpur parliamentary constituency being represented by Sampla, still his name was missing from the inauguration stone, advertisements, invitation cards and even the banner on the stage. Interestingly, the name of local SAD MLA, Desh Raj Dhugga, was there on the banner as well as the inauguration stone.
Sampla is also the Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment.
When Sampla was asked to address the gathering, he declined, citing shortage of time. “Time is short, so let minister saab (Suresh Prabhu) address and wind up the function,” he said.
Sampla was not pleased with the seat he was given on the dais. He was also upset with the absence of beacon atop the vehicle that he used to drop the railway minister Suresh Prabhu up to the helipad, which, he said, was a breach of protocol.
Perturbed, Sampla brought the matter to the notice of the SSP and the deputy commissioner and also asked the chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal to probe the matter.
Talking to HT over phone, Sampla said, “Why would I have addressed the gathering when my name was not there. I went there as the (state) BJP chief, but the post was not given due respect. The function was in my constituency, and my name was missing from the advertisements for the function.”
He said, “I will only say that we follow the alliance dharma in its true spirit and also expect from our partner (SAD) to reciprocate in the same way. In an alliance, one has to adjust, but things upset you after a point.”
Sampla said he was more perturbed because the protocol was not followed during the departure of railway minister Suresh Prabhu.
“As I accompanied the railway minister up to the helipad to see him off, the car didn’t have the flag or beacon. There was no escort vehicle. This was embarrassing. I pulled up the Gurdaspur deputy commissioner and the Batala senior superintendent of police (SSP). I have asked chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal to probe the matter and take action.”
It is learnt that there was resentment among the BJP workers for the treatment meted out to their state chief. At the venue of the function, local BJP leaders and workers were made to sit in back rows as front rows were occupied by the Akali leaders.