‘Shameful’: Punjab CM After Attack Over Jobs to Cong MLAs’ Sons
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh says that is ‘shameful’ that some were trying to give the decision political colour.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday, 19 June, said that he stood by the Cabinet’s decision on the jobs for the sons of two Congress MLAs, adding that it is “shameful” that some are trying to give the decision a political colour.
“No question of rescinding Punjab Cabinet decision on jobs for sons of two Congress MLAs. It is just a small token of gratitude and compensation for the sacrifices of their families. It's shameful that some people are giving political colour to this decision,” Singh said, as quoted by his media adviser Raveen Thukral.
The decision has not gone down well with the party itself and several Congress legislators, including Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar and party MLAs Kuljit Nagra and Amrinder Singh Raja, have opposed the CM’s decision, news agency PTI reported.
Following criticism, nine Punjab ministers and four Congress MPs on Sunday, backed the state government's decision in a joint statement.
“I fail to see any reason for removing any officer in my government under political pressure. Each one of them is doing excellent work for the state, and I need them to continue helping my government fulfill all the pending promises we’d made to the people of Punjab,” the CM was quoted as saying in another tweet by Thukral.
Jobs to 2 MLAs’ Sons on ‘Compassionate Grounds’
A political storm kicked off within the Congress in the state over the decision to give jobs to Congress MLAs’ sons – Arjun Pratap Singh Bajwa as an inspector and Bhisham Pandey as naib tehsildar in the Revenue department – on “compassionate grounds”, as their grandfathers were murdered by terrorists.
Bajwa and Pandey are sons of Qadian MLA Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa and Ludhiana legislator Rakesh Pandey. Their grandfathers were shot dead by terrorists during Punjab militancy days was cited as the ground for compassion to make them gazetted, class B government servants.
After the Cabinet’s decision, along with Opposition parties, Congress MLA Kuljit Nagra has asked the government to roll back the decision. Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar on Saturday, 19 June, also asked the CM to immediately rescind the “ill-advised move” in “greater public interest”.
“Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh must reverse the ill-advised decision... The decision is also against the ethos and culture of neutrality followed by Amarinder Singh and the Congress party as a whole,” Jakhar said, as quoted by PTI.
Five ministers – Sukhjinder Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Razia Sultana, Charanjit Singh Channi and Sukhbinder Sarkaria – had also opposed the decision in a Cabinet meeting on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has urged the Governor VP Singh Badnore to take suo motu notice of the manner in which the CM was allegedly “purchasing” the loyalty of legislators.
Punjab polls are slated to be held in 2022, and Singh has been holding meetings with the party MLAs and MPs to brush off rifts in the party.
Pargat Singh, an MLA representing Jalandhar Cantt, was quoted as saying, “I don’t know on what parameters the sons of MLAs have been chosen for the jobs. Clearly, they have not been chosen on compassionate grounds. I'm surprised (by) what kind of perception we want to create. I thank the five ministers who spoke up,” The Tribune reported.
He added, “Despite the opposition of five ministers the CM is siding with these two MLAs. If this is not horse-trading what else is it. The message is clear, where CM is willing, he will do what he wants, even if five ministers oppose it.”
Ministers And MPs Back the Decision
Nine Punjab ministers and four Congress MPs on Sunday, backed the state government's decision, while another Congress MLA Pargat Singh opposed the state government’s controversial decision.
Ministers and MPs, including MPs Gurjeet Singh Aujla, Ravneet Singh Bittu, Jasbir Singh Dimpa and Mohammad Sadiq said in a joint statement that the collective decision of the Cabinet to give government jobs to sons of sitting MLAs was “correct and in line with appointments given to similarly situated persons in the past,” ANI reported.
The statement also lashed out at the opposition SAD and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), for not appreciating the standard state policy.
Nine out of 17 Punjab ministers included Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Vijay Inder Singla, Aruna Chaudhary, Sunder Sham Arora, Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Balbir Singh Sidhu, OP Soni, and Bharat Bhushan Ashu.
(With inputs from PTI, ANI and The Tribune)
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