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AAP Punjab MLA, Faridkot ADC in spat over officer’s refusal to stand to accept memo

It started at 11.30am when the MLA reached the secretariat. Hingonia, the ADC, was chairing a meeting on the Muktsar marathon at the conference hall in the DC office. Sandhwan was asked to wait at the DC office, and when Hingonia arrived to accept the memorandum, the MLA asked him to stand up, so that the photograph came out better.

punjab Updated: Mar 08, 2018 11:54 IST
Gagandeep Jassowal
Gagandeep Jassowal
Hindustan Times, Faridkot
AAP MLA,Faridkot ADC,officer’s refusal to stand
Kotkapura Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Kultar Singh Sandhwan (left) and Faridkot additional deputy commissioner (general) Keshav Hingonia. (HT Photo)

The local secretariat witnessed an heated exchange between Kotkapura Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLA Kultar Singh Sandhwan and Faridkot additional deputy commissioner (general) Keshav Hingonia over the officer’s alleged disrespect towards the elected representative, on Wednesday afternoon. Sandhwan, who had gone to the office with party workers, to submit a memorandum seeking an inquiry into payments made under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) in the district, claimed that the ADC did not follow protocol.

Deputy commissioner Rajiv Prashar is on leave. “The ADC refused to stand up and accept the memorandum and insulted me by asking me to leave the premises,” Sandhwan alleged.

It started at 11.30am when the MLA reached the secretariat. Hingonia, the ADC, was chairing a meeting on the Muktsar marathon at the conference hall in the DC office. Sandhwan was asked to wait at the DC office, and when Hingonia arrived to accept the memorandum, the MLA asked him to stand up, so that the photograph came out better.

Hingonia then suggested that they move to the court area, where again the MLA asked the officer to stand, starting the spat. At one point, the ADC reportedly told the MLA, “You are not the government. You are just an MLA.”

Sandwan responded, “Who says I am not the government? I am the government as I am an elected representative.” Hingonia claimed the DC was the representative of the government at the district level.

As both started raising their voice, the ADC told the MLA, “Raise your voice outside. Leave this office.” At this, AAP workers raised slogans against the officer, before storming outside. Later, the ADC told reporters, “The MLA and his supporters disturbed my meeting. I am writing to the speaker of the Punjab assembly to take action against him.”

Sandhwan claimed that the officer insulted him, as he only ‘indirectly’ asked the ADC to stand up for a photo. “The officer did not follow protocol. I will write to the chief secretary seeking action against the officer.” The AAP plans to hold a protest against the incident on Thursday.

Political parties back MLA

Leader of opposition in the state assembly, Sukhpal Singh Khaira, condemned the incident, saying, “It is unfortunate that bureaucrats misbehave with elected representatives. We will raise the issue in the budget session of the assembly.”

Congress MLA  Raj Kumar Verka said, “This is an insult of an elected representative and people’s mandate. The Faridkot deputy commissioner has been asked to file a report on the incident.” “The MLA is right in his position that the ADC should have stood up. A MLA is an elected representative of the people and must be respected,” said Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) secretary general Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa. Dhindsa is also a Rajya Sabha MP from Punjab.

“If there has been a difference of opinion between the MLA and the ADC, it needs to be sorted out for smooth functioning of the district. The MLA’s concern, though, must be respected,” said Faridkot MLA Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon.

First Published: Mar 08, 2018 11:49 IST