CHANDIGARH: Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday referred to Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu’s “role” in government decisions and asked Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi not to let the “super CM” treat him like a “rubber stamp”.
Badal asked the new chief minister to conduct himself befitting the dignity of the office he holds.
While interacting with reporters here, the SAD chief was asked about the “role” of Sidhu in the state government’s decisions.
He said Channi should not allow, “an extra-constitutional super CM treat him like a dummy and a rubber stamp”.
Badal also claimed the Congress party was insulting the Scheduled Caste population of Punjab “by sending a message that Channi is there only as a fifth choice and by allowing him to be dominated not only by his own deputy CMs but even people outside the government”.
In a lighter vein, Badal said Channi should be grateful to the SAD whose decision to have a deputy chief minister from the SC community if the party is voted to power in the next state polls.
This forced the Congress party on the defensive and Channi benefited from it, the SAD chief claimed.
Touching upon another issue, Badal said he had heard some “ridiculous statements” about security and cars.
Channi at an event in Kapurthala on Thursday had said that he has asked the state police to reduce his security cover as having so many men to protect him is a “sheer wastage of resources”.
“Let me just remind the chief minister that his party president Navjot Sidhu begged for and got the same car from Amarinder Singh and got even Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi to intervene to secure this. He is not in government but is still using the same car,” he alleged.
Asked to comment on some reports that the state government may target them, Badal said they can “quench their thirst for vendetta immediately”.
“We are ready. They should not waste their own and the state’s time on this. They are targeting us because they know that their days are numbered and the Akali-BSP alliance will sweep the next polls. They are just scared and are whistling in the dark,” the SAD chief claimed.
Referring to the recent reshuffle in the top bureaucracy of the state after Channi took oath as chief minister, Badal alleged that the government was calling officers and offering them powerful posts in the police as a reward for their readiness to “arrest” Akali leaders.
“Many of these officers have been calling us to tell us of the unprecedented pressure being put on them for this. I have told them not to let this worry them and do what the government tells them. But we will be watching who steps out of constitutional line,” he said.