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Political storm in Punjab over contradictory stand by CM Bhagwant Mann and DGP Gaurav Yadav on police transfers

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Political storm in Punjab over contradictory stand by CM Bhagwant Mann and DGP Gaurav Yadav on police transfers

Umesh Dewan

Chandigarh, June 24

Nothing is going well for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab government, headed by comedian turned politician Bhagwant Mann after suffering a poll debacle in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections. Barely, three weeks after the election reverses, a political storm has now erupted in the sensitive border state over the issue related to drug menace in the state. Probably for the first time, the Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and his police chief Director General of Police (DGP), Punjab Gaurav Yadav are not on the same page. So much so, in an extremely bold move, Yadav had categorically contradicted Mann’s statement, wherein, he had said that 10,000 Punjab cops have been shifted over nexus with drug peddlers.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann

It is pertinent to mention here that a day after 14 deaths were reported due to drug overdose in Punjab, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who was already under tremendous stress due to election reverse, had tried to save his skin by issuing a statement, “Punjab Government had transferred at least 10,000 police personnel, from the rank of constable onwards, as part of its crackdown on illegal drugs, adding that more such reshuffles were on the cards.” However, Mann’s statement, who also holds the Home portfolio, didn’t go down well with the top brass of the Punjab Police.

Punjab DGP Gaurav Yadav

The adverse manner in which Punjab police had taken the statement of the Chief Minister can well be gauged from the fact that in a recent interview with a prominent newspaper, Police chief Yadav vehemently denied any link between drug overdose deaths with the police reshuffle. Interestingly, during the interview, the interviewers, who were trying to put words in Yadav’s mouth, the latter, who was very firm on his stand,  aggressively defended the Punjab Police over drug charges and also made it clear that no one can cast aspersions on the valiant Punjab Police. “It was just an administrative reshuffle”, Gaurav Yadav authoritatively asserted.

Leader of Opposition in Punjab Assembly and Congress leader Pratap Bajwa

Expressing his views on the matter, former Punjab DGP Shashi Kant, while talking to The Northern Gazette, said, “The news of Punjab cops hand-in-glove is absolutely wrong. “I think CM has given such a statement in a hurried manner because before levelling accusations on someone, there must be some proof. Where is the proof that 10,000 cops were transferred over nexus with drug peddlers”, he opined, while pointing out that DGP was absolutely correct in stating that transfers were on administrative government.

Punjab Congress Chief and Ludhiana MP Amarinder Singh Raja Warring

Meanwhile, this issue has snowballed into a major controversy in the state with all the mainstream parties interpreting and blowing up the issue as per their suitability. The Leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly Partap Bajwa had asked the CM to justify his decision to shift the police personnel. “The CM has made a huge statement. Now, the onus is on him to explain whether he still stands by his statement”, he said.

Punjab BJP Chief Sunil Jakhar

Bajwa further said that Mann directly accused the 10,000 police personnel of developing a nexus with drug peddlers, while adding, “However, DGP seems to have been in damage-control mode and defending the police personnel. Consequently, the people of Punjab have been left in a perplexed situation.” Bajwa said that the AAP government has miserably failed to curb the drug menace in Punjab. “They have no strategy to deal with the drug peddlers and now, they are playing the blame game”, he concluded.

Ironically, Bajwa’s colleague Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) Chief and Ludhiana MP Amarinder Singh Raja Warring has something really astonishing to comment upon. He went on to say that the government transferred 10,000 police personnel in Punjab because they voted for the Congress. However, Warring had no explanation, as to how it was ascertained that these transferred cops were the ones, who voted for the Congress. Despite repeated attempts, Warring was not available for comments. However, former DGP Shahi Kant’s take on Warring’s statement is that these kinds of postures are nothing but to create disaffection among the police. Kant termed both the Chief Minister’s and PPCC President’s statements as unfortunate.

Fprmer Punjab DGP Shashi Kant

Meanwhile, in Jalandhar yesterday, Punjab BJP Chief Sunik Jakhar, while taking a jibe at the AAP Government, said that it had happened for the first time that the DGP had countered the statement of the Chief Minister. “Any self-respecting Chief Minister would either have resigned or would have suspended the DGP”, he remarked.

Significantly, one thing is sure that politicians will continue to exploit issues in that manner in which they can get mileage but it is a fact that Punjab has never witnessed this kind of poor governance and contrary statements of the Chief Minister and DGP in newspapers.



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