Chandigarh, August 6

Two days after Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar sought strict action against party MPs Pratap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo, the entire Punjab cabinet on Thursday also pitched for the duo’s immediate expulsion for their `anti-party and anti-government’ activities, which they termed as gross indiscipline.

The actions of the two Rajya Sabha MPs call for immediate and strict action against them by the party high command, said the cabinet ministers, seeking the dismissal of Bajwa and Dullo for attacking their own Congress government in the state over the hooch tragedy.

The ministers, in a joint statement, called for the whip to be immediately cracked on the two MPs, without any laxity or delay. Indiscipline could not be tolerated at any time, least of all when Assembly elections in the state are less than two years way, they said, pointing to the MPs’ repeated attacks on the state government, including Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

Questioning their decision to raise concerns on the hooch tragedy, the ministers said the two MPs had never, in their Rajya Sabha term, bothered to raise any issue of the interest of the state they represent. “Why did they not press for the completion of the ED probe into the drugs issue during the Akali regime? Why did they not protest in the House against the anti-farm Ordinances of the Union Government? Why did they never speak about the CBI’s failure to probe the sacrilege cases?” the ministers asked.

The ministers said that by bypassing all party and government forums to protest against the government handling of the hooch tragedy and to approach the Governor for CBI and ED inquiries into the case, the two MPs had not only attacked the very basis of democratic governance but had sought to undermine the Punjab Police force, which was effectively cracking down on the liquor mafia despite the Covid pandemic pressures it was currently handling.

This is not the way democratic systems and institutions are meant to function, said the ministers, pointing out that a CBI probe was needed only if the police failed to deliver, which was definitely not the case at present. In any case, they pointed out that the whole of Punjab had been witness to CBI’s total lack of efficiency in investigating the sacrilege cases, which eventually the state police is having to solve. Even the targeted killings were solved not by CBI but by the state police, the ministers said, expressing full faith and confidence in the Punjab Police ability to bring every guilty individual to book even in the spurious liquor case.

Moreover, the decision on recommending or not recommending a CBI probe rests with the state government, and not with two MPs, who are unable to even represent the interests of Punjab properly in Parliament, the ministers said. Instead of doing their job as MPs, both Bajwa and Dullo seem intent on destabilising their own government, either out of their own greed for power or at the bidding of those who want to destabilise the Congress in Punjab, the ministers pointed out. In either case, the duo had rendered themselves useless, and of no value to the party, and need to be shunted out without delay, the ministers stressed.

What was even more unacceptable was the fact that instead of feeling even remotely apologetic, these MPS continue to be on the offensive, going so far as to launch a personal attack on PPCC president Sunil Jakhar. How can party MPs from a state go around openly criticising the chief of their own state unit, they asked, adding that the Congres had a strong leadership in Punjab and did not need two indisciplined members denting the image.

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