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Saturday, September 30 2023

Mann sold off interests of Punjab to Delhi, says Sukhbir

Shiromani Akali Dal SAD President Sukhbir Badal
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Chandigarh: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Badal on Tuesday April 26 said Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has sold off the state’s interests to Delhi “in the garb of a knowledge-sharing agreement” and now AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal has become the de-facto Chief Minister of Punjab too.

Terming the development as a black day in the history of Punjab, Badal said never before in the history of the state had outsiders been given control of the state and its future generations in this manner.

“A municipality President has been given charge of Chief Ministership of Punjab. Punjab has become subservient to Delhi which is not even a state.”

Asking Mann to explain why he had betrayed Punjab and its people by surrendering its autonomy to Delhi, Badal alleged that he had hurt the pride of Punjabis.

“The agreement makes it clear that all ministers and officers of Punjab will now report to Kejriwal and that the latter will have access to all Punjab government files. This is also a case of violation of the Official Secrets act even as clause 3 of the agreement binds future governments to decisions taken under it.

“We will approach the Punjab Governor and urge him to direct the Chief Minister to withdraw his assent to the anti-Punjab agreement. The party will also plan its next course of action in an emergency meeting of its core committee.”

Asserting the “agreement” could have dangerous repercussions, Badal said” “We apprehend that a situation could arise whereby Kejriwal could force the Punjab Chief Minister to sign away the state’s river waters to Haryana and Delhi in the same manner in which Congress Chief Minister Darbara Singh was coerced into doing so by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.”

He said the situation had already taken a turn for the worst. “Punjab ministers are now even finding it difficult to defend their state with the Food and Civil Supplies Minister offering only ‘no comments’ when asked to spell out Punjab’s stand on the SYL canal.”

Asking Mann not to act like a rubber stamp and cancel the agreement if he had any Punjabi pride, Badal said the Chief Minister should know that Kejriwal had his eyes on the Chief Minister’s chair of Punjab from the very beginning.

“Immediately after the AAP government was sworn in, Kejriwal started summoning the state Chief Secretary and police chief to Delhi and even deciding on transfers and postings. When this attracted criticism a conspiracy was hatched to institutionalise the arrangement by bringing in the knowledge-sharing agreement, which is nothing but a document designed to hand over the administrative control of Punjab to the Delhi government.”

Referring to press briefing in Delhi where the purported agreement between the two states was signed, Badal said the Punjab Chief Minister said he wanted to learn and take benefit of the ‘Delhi Model’ whereas Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had gone on record to having said Delhi copied the Meritorious School model of Punjab which was put in place by former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

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