The Congress declared to shun VIP culture when it came to power in Punjab, but cabinet minister Sadhu Singh Dharmsot doesn’t seem to have got the message. The MLA from Nabha lost his temper when he saw his name at the third place, not at the top, on the inauguration plaque of a building at a local government school on Thursday. And the whole drama has been captured on video, including his threat to the principal that he could get her suspended from her job.
In the video that has since gone viral on social media, Dharamsot is seen as telling principal Nishi Jalota, “I can suspend you immediately for this mistake. Aren’t you aware, who is the chief guest ?” Despite video evidence, he later denied having anything.
He even added that he sensed corruption in the construction of the building: “I think the amount spent on the building is too much. Mainu kuch gadbad lagdi ae,” said the minister. However, school teachers and the principal said they were open for any kind of inquiry.
The teachers said around Rs 1 crore has been spent on the construction of over 15,500 sq feet with the help of funds from donors (over Rs 50 lakh) and the rest as government grants. School teachers have also donated Rs 9 lakh, said one who did not want to be named for fear of persecution.
The then director general of school education, Krishan Kumar, had formed a committee comprising officials, the principal and donors to construct the building at Government Senior Secondary Girls School that has 2,000 students.
But whose name was above that of the minister?
On top was the name of Manju Mangal, a former student of the school, and second was that of her industrialist brother Rakesh Kumar, who put in the money and effort for the building as a tribute to their late mother Santosh Devi, who wished to work for girls’ education.
The principal said there was some confusion in the making of the plaque. Rakesh Kumar expressed sadness over the controversy and said it was just a communication gap.
The minister’s phone was switched off since the incident.