Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh slammed state BJP leaders Sunday over “sordid attempts” at unsettling democratically-elected governments by “lower(ing) the prestige of the Governor’s office” and leading it into “unsavoury controversies”.
Mr Singh also accused the BJP of “trampling (over) democratic institutions” and invited its leaders to “learn the ABCs of the Indian constitution”.
“Don’t these BJP leaders know law and order responsibilities of my state lie with me… not only as Chief Minister but also Home Minister. These actions do not behoove a party that is custodian of these institutions as the ruling party at the centre,” Mr Singh said in his statement.
The Punjab Chief Minister claimed a “power-hungry BJP” was reading from its playbook and was trying to use the Governor’s office for its political gain. “It has been happening in Bengal… it happened in Maharashtra. They are trying to do the same in Punjab,” he claimed.
He was responding, also, to a tweet by Punjab BJP claiming the state was becoming “another Bengal” – a reference to the BJP and governor Jagdeep Dhankhar targeting the Mamata Banerjee government over alleged law and order issues. Bengal votes for a new Assembly in April-May.
This latest attack comes a day after he hit out at Governor VP Badnore for summoning top officials over last month’s vandalism of Reliance Jio mobile towers. “Summon me, not my officers…” he declared, as he accused the BJP of dragging the Governor’s office into its “unsavoury agenda”.
Mr Singh also accused the BJP of spreading “propaganda on the collapse of law and order” to divert attention from the tens of thousands of farmers protesting the centre’s agriculture laws.
Last month hundreds of telecom towers (many belonging to Reliance Jio) were damaged, allegedly by protesting farmers. Mr Singh also said the BJP was trying to undermine the farmers’ peaceful agitation by terming a “few minor incidents of damage” a law-and-order problem.
The Chief Minister also took on the BJP over threats to “gherao (surround)” Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu’s home if Punjab Police failed to register an FIR against him. Mr Bittu has been accused of comments “prejudicial to national integrity” while taking part in a sit-in protest for the farmers.
Mr Singh declared this was another instance of the BJP playing to the gallery, since Delhi Police (which reports to Union Home Minister Amit Shah) had already filed a non-cognisable case.
“The entire nation can feel the pain of the farmers… except the party which heads the country,” he said, as he called on the BJP to resolve the more than a month-long stand-off with farmers.