Cong’s Ba­jwa, Dullo to skip MPs’ meet with Mohindra

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Punjab - Vishal Ram­bani ram­bani@hin­dus­tan­times.com

As chief min­is­ter Capt Amarinder Singh has de­puted cab­i­net col­league Brahm Mohindra to chair an all-party meet­ing of par­lia­men­tar­i­ans of Pun­jab on Wed­nes­day, his party Congress’s two Ra­jya Sabha mem­bers — Shamsher Singh Dullo and Par­tap Singh Ba­jwa — have de­clared not to at­tend.

Pre­dictably, Shi­ro­mani Akali Dal (SAD) has also an­nounced a boy­cott while two Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MPs will not at­tend even as its two sus­pended mem­bers will be there at the meet­ing sched­uled to be held at Pun­jab Bhawan in Chandi­garh.

At the cen­tre of the episode is Ba­jwa, Amarinder’s bete noire within the Congress, who had said in an in­ter­view that he would raise is­sues re­gard­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion with the state gov­ern­ment at this meet­ing. Dullo too had said the gov­ern­ment that took over in March should ful­fil prom­ises. HT on Novem­ber 6 re­ported that the CM will stay away and the meet­ing will be chaired by Mohindra.

Now, Ba­jwa told HT over the phone, “To­day, I am to­tally dis­il­lu­sioned with gov­ern­ment. I will not be go­ing to at­tend a meet­ing that is be­ing chaired by a min­is­ter and not by the CM. I have to take up is­sues that re­late to Pun­jab and only the CM can take a de­ci­sion.” For in­stance, he said, “How can Mohindra take a de­ci­sion on fix­ing prices of sug­ar­cane?”

“I was wait­ing to re­mind the CM about prom­ises, in­clud­ing ac­tion against SAD lead­ers Bikram Ma­jithia, Sukhbir Badal, Tota Singh and Adaish Par­tap Ka­iron. And why is (fi­nance min­is­ter) Man­preet Badal not is­su­ing a de­part­ment-wise white pa­per on loot com­mit­ted by the SADBJP in the last 10 years?” he said, adding that he would wait for an­other meet­ing.

He said he will “not like to com­ment on work­ing of the gov­ern­ment in the me­dia”, but added, “I would re­mind the CM about poll prom­ises of ‘ghar ghar naukri’ (jobs), un­em­ploy­ment al­lowance, and ful­fil­ment of a pledge that he took at Bathinda by plac­ing his hand on a holy book. Farm loan waiver is still on pa­per, and sim­i­lar is the story of en­hance­ment of pen­sions and Sh­a­gun scheme. I pre­pared a list, but now will not at­tend the meet­ing as the CM is not at­tend­ing it.” Re­gard­ing rais­ing is­sues in the Ra­jya Sabha, he said, “I am al­ready do­ing that.”

Sources said an­other Ra­jya Sabha MP, Am­bika Soni, will not at­tend, while state unit chief and Gur­daspur MP Su­nil Jakhar will be there, as would be other Lok Sabha MPs of the Congress.

AKALIS TAKE DIG

As for the SAD, its line is that Mohindra lacks the se­nior­ity to chair the meet­ing. SAD’s Lok Sabha MP Prem Singh Chandumajra said in Patiala, “It seems the CM is not con­cerned with Pun­jab’s is­sues. That’s why he twice post­poned this meet­ing, and now says Mohindra will chair it. The meet­ing is against pro­to­col and the dig­nity of MPs.”

He went on to al­lege that Amarinder is “at­tempt­ing a se­cret pact” with Haryana on SYL (Sut­lej-Ya­muna Link) canal: “As he is aware that the SAD will ques­tion it, he de­cided not to take the meet­ing.” BJP’s Vi­jay Sam­pla will not at­tend due to a prior en­gage­ment, party sec­re­tary Vi­neet Joshi told a news agency.

REBELS OF AAP

AAP’s Lok Sabha MP from San­grur and state unit chief Bhag­want Mann sim­ply said, “We are not go­ing to at­tend the meet­ing.” But the party has four LS MPs, of whom two re­main sus­pended. Those two — Dharamvira Gandhi and Harinder Singh Khalsa — will at­tend.

Gandhi said it was his idea to have such a meet­ing: “It is a noble ini­tia­tive by the CM to col­lec­tively raise is­sues in Par­lia­ment. It was my idea, which (pre­vi­ous CM) Parkash Singh Badal didn’t im­ple­ment, but Amarinder Singh has de­cided to hold a meet­ing be­fore every ses­sion. I have to take up the mat­ter of Chandi­garh Ra­jpura rail link among oth­ers.”

I am to­tally dis­il­lu­sioned with the state govt. I am not go­ing to at­tend a meet­ing that is be­ing chaired by a min­is­ter and not by the CM. PAR­TAP SINGH BA­JWA , RS mem­ber

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