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Appointment of OSD to ex-Akali minister as commission member sparks row

CM’s wife and Patiala MP Preneet Kaur, two Congress MLAs raise objection over the move, say will take up the issue with Capt
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Vishal Rambani, Patiala
PUBLISHED ON MAY 05, 2020 11:55 PM IST

The appointment of Ravee Ahluwalia, who was officer on special duty (OSD) to former Akali minister Surjit Singh Rakhra during the previous government, as member of the Punjab State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, has sparked a row in the ruling Congress in the state.

Chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s wife and Patiala MP Preneet Kaur besides some Congress MLAs have raised objection to the appointment that was notified by principal secretary (social security and women & child development) Raji P Shrivastva on Monday.

What has shocked the Congress workers is the fact that Ravee had actively campaigned against Amarinder’s son Raninder Singh who lost from the Samana assembly seat in 2012 to Rakhra.

Later, as OSD to Rakhra, he also remained in the forefront of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)’s campaign against Preneet Kaur when she lost in the 2014 parliamentary polls. He was OSD to Rakhra till 2017.

“I don’t approve of this appointment. I am surprised how and why it was done. Ravee has worked against Raninder and the Congress. How we can reward him with a post. Our workers are demoralised over this. I will take up the matter with the CM,” said Preneet.

Usually, the nomination of those from the Patiala constituency for government posts is made on the recommendation of Preneet, who consults party MLAs and workers.

Congress’ Samana MLA Rajinder Singh, who upped the ante, against the move said, “This appointment has certainly demoralised our party workers. I am sure this was not brought to the notice of the CM. I will approach him.”

Rajinder Singh defeated Rakhra in the 2017 polls.

Rajpura MLA of the ruling party, Hardial Singh Kamboj, also questioned the decision. “Everyone knows that as Rakhra’s OSD, Ravee worked against our party and remained in the forefront of the SAD campaign against Raninder and Preneet Kaur. I wonder who rewarded him with this post. The appointment certainly needs to be probed as no one from our parliamentary segment has recommended his name.”

When contacted, Ahluwalia said he left association with Rakhra even before the 2017 elections. “My appointment was made purely on the basis of merit. I applied for the post advertised in November 2019 and they finalised my name by assessing my bio data. Moreover, no major remunerations come with this post,” he said.

The department officials said the terms, conditions and perks of the commission chairperson and members will be notified later as per budgetary provisions.

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