Politics over hooch tragedy: Punjab ministers want Bajwa, Dullo out; MPs stay defiantUpdated: Aug 07, 2020 01:37 IST
The internal war in the ruling Congress escalated on Thursday with all Punjab cabinet ministers demanding immediate expulsion of Rajya Sabha MPs Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo for ‘anti-party and anti-government activities’.
The move came two days after both MPs submitted a letter to the governor, seeking CBI and ED probes into the state’s worst hooch tragedy that has claimed 113 lives.
The ministers said the ‘gross indiscipline’ by two MPs call for immediate action by the party high command as the duo “bypassed all party and government forums’ to attack their own government. Both MPs, however, rejected the allegations and refused to back down.
The cabinet ministers, who issued a joint statement here, said: “Indiscipline could not be tolerated at any time, least of all when the assembly elections in the state are less than two years way.”
They further said the two MPs had never, in their Rajya Sabha term, bothered to raise any issue of the interest of the state they represent, including related to completion of the ED probe into the drugs issue, anti-farm ordinances and the CBI’s failure to probe the sacrilege cases.
Accusing the duo of undermining the state police force, the ministers said a CBI probe was needed only if the police failed to deliver, which was definitely not the case at present. They said both MPs had rendered themselves useless, and were of no value to the party, and needed to be shunted out without delay.
BAJWA, DULLO HIT BACK
Dismissing the ministers’ demand, Bajwa and Dullo called it an afterthought. “If the performance of the party can’t be criticised even if the government is working against the interest of the public which has reposed faith in the party and elected them to power, then this is against the principles of democracy,” the duo said in a joint statement.
On the ministers’ charge regarding not raising the ED case, Bajwa said, “It appears that Capt Amarinder Singh has started suffering from dementia and has forgotten that it was he who had supported the Badals and not us. During Bajwa’s tenure as the PPCC president, it was Amarinder who had been opposing and criticising not only the PPCC but also the party high command,” they claimed.