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Punjab: Cong MLAs meet at minister Channi's residence

·3-min read

Chandigarh, May 18 (PTI) A group of Congress legislators on Tuesday held a meeting at Punjab minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s residence here, a day after the state women panel chief threatened to go on a hunger strike over an alleged harassment case against him.

Congress Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa claimed 12 MLAs, five of which are ministers, were present during the meeting at the residence of Channi, who is the state's Technical Education Minister.

However, the number of those present at the meeting could not be independently confirmed.

Punjab State Women Commission chairperson Manisha Gulati had threatened to go on a hunger strike if the state government failed to apprise her within a week of its stand on the issue of an “inappropriate text” message allegedly sent by Channi to a woman IAS officer in 2018.

Among those who went to Channi’s residence were state minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Jalandhar Cantonment MLA Pargat Singh, who had earlier tried to exert pressure on CM Amarinder Singh for an early action against those involved in the 2015 desecration cases.

Amid the political turmoil in the party, a few days ago 14 ruling party MLAs had met at Channi’s residence.

Talking to the media after the meeting, Randhawa said their fight is for the delivery of justice in the 2015 incidents and alleged that attempts are being made to divert it.

“We will continue to fight for the Guru,” he said.

Throwing weight behind Channi, Randhawa questioned the commission chairperson for raking up the alleged harassment case after more than two years. “In this case, when there is no complaint and raising that issue now is unfortunate,” said Randhawa.

The women commission is a constitutional body and not a political one, he said.

To a question on MLA Pargat Singh, who had accused Punjab CM’s political adviser Sandeep Sandhu of threatening him, Randhawa said giving threats is not a tradition of the Congress Party.

Jalandhar Cantonment legislator Pargat Singh after the meeting said earlier the commission chairperson has never been talking about “dharnas”.

Congress MP Partap Singh Bajwa said Channi called off a press conference scheduled for Tuesday after the intervention of the central party leadership.

Bajwa urged Harish Rawat, the incharge of Punjab affairs at the AICC, to come to Punjab and hold meetings with all legislators to take stock of the political situation.

To another question, Bajwa said the Vigilance Bureau should not be used against party leaders as this may create an “explosive situation”.

“If they try to investigate their own people, then they will face stiff opposition,” he said, apparently referring to reports of a Vigilance probe against those considered close to Amritsar MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu and his wife.

Sidhu has been critical of his own government after the Punjab and Haryana High Court last month quashed an SIT probe report into the 2015 Kotkapura firing incident, in which police had allegedly fired at people protesting the desecration of a religious text in the state.

It would be better of the Vigilance conducts probe into alleged scams that took place during the Parkash Singh Badal-led regime from 2007 to 2017, he said. Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar on Monday had trashed reports of Vigilance probe against party leaders and had asserted there was no truth in it. Bajwa also asked CM Amarinder Singh to give a clarification over party legislator Pargat Singh's accusation of being threatened by his political adviser. PTI CHS VSD RDK RDK

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