BJP's request to defer civic body polls shows panic in party: Punjab CM

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Chandigarh, Dec 31 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday said the state BJP's request to the governor for postponement of the civic body polls on “baseless ground” of law and order situation showed that the party leadership was in complete panic.

He said the prospect of facing these polls at a time when people were angry over the Centre's new farm laws has put the saffron party leadership in panic.

State BJP chief Ashwani Sharma, who met Governor V P Singh Badnore here on Wednesday, said the law and order situation in the state was “rapidly becoming unsafe” and the BJP demands that the MC elections, due early next year, should be held only when the state has “conducive peaceful atmosphere so that fair polls can be held”.

Lashing out at Ashwani Sharma for allegedly spreading false propaganda to further his party's political agenda, Singh said his desperate attempts to falsely project a law and order problem in Punjab reflected the party's fear of complete annihilation in the upcoming civic polls.

Interacting with mediapersons after dedicating the Chandigarh-Kharar elevated corridor to people in Mohali’s Kharar, the CM said, “The state BJP's request to the Governor for postponement of the civic polls on the baseless grounds of law and order situation collapse showed that the party leadership is in complete panic at the prospect of facing the elections at a time when people were angry at them over the black farm laws.” “Faced with the wrath of the people of Punjab, Ashwani and his party colleagues are now resorting to desperate measures to wriggle out of the polls,” he said.

Singh said the bogey of law and order problems in Punjab is being created by the BJP only to save itself from the anger of farmers.

Dismissing as 'atrocious' BJP state leadership's charges that there was a 'Congress-backed conspiracy' responsible for the damage to mobile towers, the chief minister asked, “Are we responsible for the farmers' angst against the BJP?” “We were not the ones who enacted the farm laws, it was the BJP-led central government. We, in fact, negated them by passing amendment Bills in the assembly,” he added.

Noting that following his appeals and strict warning to those damaging property, the number of such incidents has come down drastically, Singh said, “This clearly exposed the lies being shamelessly mouthed by Sharma”.

“Only a couple of incidents of minor damage were reported today,” he said, adding that his government would ensure that not a single case of damage takes place in the coming days. The situation was now under control, with most of the damaged towers already repaired, he added.

“While these incidents were unfortunate, the fact was that these were happening as a result of the spontaneous outburst of farmers as their genuine demands had not been conceded so far,” Singh said.

Asked to comment on the acceptance of two of the key demands of the agitating farmers by the Centre at their last round of meeting, Singh said the issue was now between the farmers and the Centre.

He hoped that the Centre will soon accede to the remaining demands of farmers.

Replying to a question regarding the civic body polls in the state, Amarinder Singh said the process is already under way and dates will announced soon.

Meanwhile, BJP general secretary Dushyant Gautam charged the Punjab government with attempting to create an atmosphere of hatred and violence.

He said the attack on BJP workers in Bathinda on December 25 during the birth anniversary celebrations of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has “exposed” the Congress party's intention. PTI SUN VSD RDK RDK