House panel to probe Sukhbir Badal’s allegation of Capt Amarinder-Daduwal ‘secret meeting’
Tuesday’s heated exchange between Amarinder and Sukhbir began when the latter reiterated his allegations and waved a photograph of Amarinder with Daduwal, parallel jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, instantly bringing the chief minister to his feet.Updated: Aug 29, 2018 09:48 IST
The Punjab assembly on Tuesday constituted a House committee to look into Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal’s allegation that chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh had a “secret meeting” with Sikh preacher Baljit Singh Daduwal a day before the controversial report of Justice Ranjit Singh (retd) Commission was tabled.
Assembly speaker Rana KP Singh formed the committee on Amarinder’s request after Sukhbir, who had sparred with him over the issue on Monday, again raked it up during the zero hour on the last day of the monsoon session.
The chief minister, who accused the Akali leader of misleading the House by giving false information, got support from legislators of his party as well as the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the principal opposition party. Cooperation minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa will head the committee.
On Sunday night, Akali MLA Bikram Singh Majithia had claimed that Daduwal met the chief minister at his official residence where rural development minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa was also present. Both Amarinder and Daduwal denied any such meeting, but the Akalis kept repeating the allegation nonetheless.
While Majithia also alleged at a party protest that Amarinder, Justice Ranjit Singh and Daduwal had colluded to prepare the report to defame the party, Sukhbir claimed calls were allegedly exchanged between some Congress ministers, Daduwal, rebel AAP MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira and a few others.
The desecration panel report, which indicted the Akali government, was tabled in the House on Monday.
Tuesday’s heated exchange between Amarinder and Sukhbir began when the latter reiterated his allegations and waved a photograph of Amarinder with Daduwal, parallel jathedar of Takht Damdama Sahib, instantly bringing the chief minister to his feet.
Rubbishing the charge, Amarinder said the photo was of a meeting with a delegation of different parties that had come to him with a charter of demands, including action against those involved in desecration, in June this year.
“It was an open meeting that was covered by the media. I too have a copy of this photo,” he said, flashing the same photo.
Sukhbir said he showed the photograph because the chief minister had claimed that he had never met the person. “I said if you still make him stand in a group of five with similar build, I won’t be able to recognise him. Do it. And, I will still not be able to recognise him,” Amarinder replied to guffaws from the treasury and opposition members.
Sukhbir said he was surprised by the chief minister’s response. “You are very senior to me, but you must answer. You sent your ministers to meet Daduwal to hold meetings. They are Khalistan sympathisers,” he remarked.
The chief minister responded by accusing the Akali Dal of spreading disinformation.
“I don’t know why they lie so much,” he said before proposing the House committee to look into the allegations.
AAP legislators HS Phoolka and Khaira also voiced their support.
First Published: Aug 29, 2018 09:48 IST