Chandigarh, November 18 –
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said chief minister Bhagwant Mann would be held to account for his defamatory speeches and no amount of grandstanding would save him from facing a criminal defamation suit for trying to harm the reputation of party president Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Addressing a press conference here, SAD chief spokesman Arshdeep Singh Kler said “it is clear that the chief minister is rattled. This is why he is resorting to cheap language and comments to show false bravado. Try as he might, he should understand that his boss Arvind Kejriwal had to apologize to former minister Bikram Singh Majithia and that he would also face the same fate now”.
Mr Arshdeep Kler also advised the chief minister to stop making personal comments against senior SAD leaders, including Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal who was a three time MP and two time cabinet minister. “Instead of trying to ridicule his political opponents, the chief minister should introspect on his actions including the manner in which he had assigned three battalions to guard his mother and wife”. He said the manner in which the chief minister had tried to justify his repeated visits to Madhya Pradesh and other election bound States was also wrong. “No one has any objection to the chief minister visiting any other State. We are objecting to the manner in which the chief minister of Punjab has become a tour operator for Mr Arvind Kejriwal as well as the use of Punjab exchequer money to fund the election tour programmes of Mr Kejriwal”.
The SAD Spokesman also asked the chief minister to spell out what action he had taken against the diamonds in his ministry and among his legislators who had been caught indulging in corruption as well as acts of moral turpitude. “Everyone has witnessed how the corruption cases against Dr Vijay Singla and Fauja Singh Sarari have been buried even as no action has been taken in the acts of moral turpitude committed by Minister Lal Chand Kataruchak and legislator Goldy Kamboj”. He said the chief minister was yet to react to a video of a cabinet minister who had been accused of exploiting a hapless victim despite a demand made by Mr Bikram Singh Majithia to disclose the name of the minister and take action against him as per law. “All this shows that the chief minister is giving political patronage to nefarious elements even as he claims to run a Kattar Imandaar government”, the SAD leader added.
Mr Kler also asked the chief minister to clarify acts of defamation against the SAD president, even as he added that no amount of false bravado would save him. He said the chief minister had stated during a “one man debate” in PAU, Ludhiana on November 1 that former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had arrived at a quid pro quo with Ch Devi Lal of Haryana under which a private canal was built to take Punjab waters to the Balasar farm of the Badal family in 1998. “Mr Mann should know that the Balasar canal is part of the BML irrigation system of 1955”. He said similarly false imputations were made about the bus business of the Badal family with an attempt being made to paint the business as illegal. “Nothing can be further from the truth”, Mr Kler said adding “the Supreme Court recently scrapped a State government policy which earlier allowed extensions in bus permits which affects both private companies as well as government bus corporations”.