Cong-AAP rift wide open in Punjab, to dent INDIA Alliance
The past may prove to be fatal for the INDIA Alliance to come together in Punjab. The opposition INDIA alliance is already losing ground before it even gets a chance. Based on the extensive list of former Congress ministers who are being prosecuted, it seems that the party has emerged as the main target of the AAP administration, rather than the other major political party in the state, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Though, sources in AAP say, most of these arrests took place long before INDIA Alliance was in place. The politics at the centre and state sometimes do give rise to contradictory situations but thins will fall in place for INDIA.
Regarding the AAP-Congress faultlines, the biggest issue is that at least three former ministers, including Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Sunder Sham Arora, were arrested for their alleged financial misdemeanours. Former Finance Minister Manpreet Badal got interim anticipatory bail from the Punjab and Haryana High Court in a plot allotment case. The HC stayed the arrest of former Forest Minister Sangat Singh Gilzian.
Due to their alleged financial misdemeanors, at least three former ministers—Sadhu Singh Dharmsot, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, and Sunder Sham Arora—were placed under arrest. The Punjab and Haryana High Court granted temporary anticipatory bail to Manpreet Badal, the former finance minister, in connection with a plot allocation issue. Sangat Singh Gilzian, the former minister of forests, had his arrest delayed by the HC.
In order to answer questions about his excessive assets, former chief minister Charanjit Channi appeared before the agency. Brahm Mohindra and Gurpreet Kangar, two former ministers, are also often questioned at the CBI. Sukhpal Khaira, one of the AAP government’s most vocal opponents, is incarcerated at the moment due to a previous narcotics conviction.
“Yes, there is a blatant victimisation of Congress leaders. We are just being called to the bureau and asked baseless questions. Many have already gone three-four times. Isn’t it odd that on one level they are talking about a tie-up with our party as part of the INDIA bloc and on the other, they are targeting us and not the Akalis,” a former minister said.
A top Dalit leader of the Congress, while accusing the AAP government of casteism, said, “Interference by the Vigilance Bureau is only a part of the actual scenario. Actually only one section of society is being targeted by AAP. There is no other reason why the government is going soft on violations at the Sukhvilas, a hotel project associated with former Deputy CM Sukhbir Badal of the SAD. There is also no other reason why a challan has not been presented against former minister Bikram Majithia in the case of his alleged involvement in drugs”.
AAP spokesperson has said that the INDIA platform has been created to keep the BJP out of power at the Centre. And, in any case, AAP is prepared to contest all 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab alone and also the lone seat of Chandigarh.