Ap­point­ment of OSD to ex-Akali min­is­ter as com­mis­sion mem­ber sparks row

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - NEWS - Vishal Ram­bani ram­bani@hin­dus­tan­times.com

PA­TIALA: The ap­point­ment of Ravee Ahluwalia, who was of­fi­cer on special duty (OSD) to for­mer Akali min­is­ter Sur­jit Singh Rakhra dur­ing the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment, as mem­ber of the Pun­jab State Com­mis­sion for Pro­tec­tion of Child Rights, has sparked a row in the rul­ing Congress in Pun­jab.

Chief min­is­ter Cap­tain Amarinder Singh’s wife and Pa­tiala MP Pre­neet Kaur be­sides some Congress MLAs have raised ob­jec­tion to the ap­point­ment that was no­ti­fied by prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary (so­cial se­cu­rity and women & child de­vel­op­ment) Raji P Shri­vastva on Mon­day.

The ten­ure of the seven-mem­ber panel is three years. Most mem­bers are po­lit­i­cal ap­pointees. What has shocked the Congress work­ers is that Ravee had ac­tively cam­paigned against Amarinder’s son Ranin­der Singh who lost from the Sa­mana as­sem­bly seat in 2012 to Rakhra.

Later, as OSD to Rakhra, he also re­mained IN the fore­front of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)’s cam­paign against Pre­neet KAUR when she lost in the 2014 par­lia­men­tary polls. He was OSD to Rakhra till 2017.

Amarinder had con­ferred the state award for so­cial ser­vice upon Ravee at the In­de­pen­dence Day func­tion in Gur­daspur in 2017. Ravee was among 47 hon­oured at that event.

“I don’t approve of this ap­point­ment. I am sur­prised how and why it was done. Ravee has worked against Ranin­der and the Congress. How we can re­ward him with a post. Our work­ers are de­mor­alised over this. I will take up the mat­ter with the CM,” said Pre­neet while talk­ing to HT.

Usu­ally, the nom­i­na­tion of those from the Pa­tiala con­stituency for gov­ern­ment posts is made on the rec­om­men­da­tion of Pre­neet, who con­sults party MLAs and work­ers.

Congress’ Sa­mana MLA Ra­jin­der Singh, who upped the ante against the move, said, “This ap­point­ment has cer­tainly de­mor­alised our party work­ers. I am sure this was not brought to the no­tice of the CM. I will ap­proach him.”

Ra­jin­der Singh de­feated Rakhra in the 2017 polls.

Ra­jpura MLA of the rul­ing party, Har­dial Singh Kam­boj, also ques­tioned the de­ci­sion. “Every­one knows THAT as Rakhra’s OSD Ravee was ac­tively in­volved in the SAD cam­paign against Ranin­der and Pre­neet Kaur. I won­der who re­warded him with this post. The ap­point­ment cer­tainly needs to be probed as no one from our par­lia­men­tary seg­ment has rec­om­mended his name.”

When con­tacted, Ahluwalia said he left as­so­ci­a­tion with Rakhra even be­fore the 2017 elec­tions.

“My ap­point­ment was made purely on the ba­sis of merit. I ap­plied for the post ad­ver­tised in Novem­ber 2019 and they fi­nalised my name by as­sess­ing my bio­data. More­over, no ma­jor re­mu­ner­a­tions come with this post,” he said.

The de­part­ment of­fi­cials said the terms, con­di­tions and perks of the com­mis­sion chair­per­son and mem­bers will be no­ti­fied later as per bud­getary pro­vi­sions.

My ap­point­ment was made purely on the ba­sis of merit. I ap­plied for the post ad­ver­tised in Novem­ber 2019 and they fi­nalised my name by as­sess­ing my bio­data. RAVEE AHLUWALIA, OSD to ex- Akali min­is­ter Sur­jit Singh Rakhra

Ravee Ahluwalia

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