A ploy to divert attention, says Congress on AAP’s allegations of BJP bid to topple Punjab govt

The Punjab unit of the Congress challenged the AAP to have the charges probed by an independent agency under the supervision of a sitting judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court

Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa (File image)
Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa (File image)
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PTI

Both the major Opposition political parties of Punjab on Thursday accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of trying to divert public attention from burning public issues by levelling allegations that the BJP was trying to topple the state government by launching ‘Operation Lotus’.

Punjab finance minister Harpal Singh Cheema had on Tuesday accused the BJP of trying to get his party’s MLAs to defect to bring down the Bhagwant Mann-led government in the state.  

Cheema alleged that the BJP was using agencies like the CBI and the ED to mount pressure on the AAP-led government and its MLAs, besides trying to allure AAP MLAs with money and positions in the party.

On Wednesday, a delegation of about 10 AAP MLAs led by Cheema had met Punjab DGP Gaurav Yadav to file a complaint in this context.

A FIR was registered against certain unidentified persons on the basis of the complaint on Wednesday night.

Reacting to the developments, the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) termed the claims made by the AAP leaders an attempt to divert public attention from its governance failure in the state including large scale mining on the Indo-Pak border, a thriving liquor mafia and a booming gang culture.        

The state unit of the Congress challenged the AAP’s leadership to get the allegations probed by an independent agency under the supervision of a sitting judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Claiming that the allegations were serious and amounted to the subversion of the constitutional process, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring even offered his party’s support to the AAP in this regard.

The PPCC chief, however, said the AAP’s leadership would never get the allegations probed by an independent agency as the charges were ‘scripted’ to divert public attention from its failure in running the state as per their commitments.

Senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa claimed to have already cautioned the AAP government during the Vidhan Sabha session against such an “operation” by the BJP. He, however, outrightly rejected AAP’s claims, saying that the AAP’s leadership was just trying to deceive people.            

Senior Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia wondered why the AAP’s leaders weren’t able to produce evidence to support their allegations.

He also requested Union Home Minister Amit Shah to order a high level independent inquiry to probe them. “In the last two days, the body language of Harpal Cheema shows that he might have got certain directions from Arvind Kejriwal,” Majithia also claimed.

Meanwhile, a delegation of the Punjab unit of the BJP led by its president Ashwani Sharma met governor Banwari Lal Purohit and demanded a CBI probe into the AAP’s allegations. Sharma said that AAP leaders were trying to hide their failures by spreading rumors and their corruption was being exposed.

Sharma alleged that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has been eyeing the Punjab CM’s post and had created ruckus in Punjab after sending Bhagwant Mann on a foreign tour.

Taking a dig at Kejriwal, he said that this is not ‘Operation Lotus’ but ‘Operation Jharoo (broom)’ through which the AAP supremo was trying to remove Bhagwant Mann since he was never his choice for being appointed as the Punjab CM.

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