Chandigarh, Jun 19 (PTI) After the Opposition, now Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar and two party MLAs have questioned their government's decision of giving jobs to sons of two legislators and urged Chief Minister Amarinder Sigh to rollback the 'ill-advised' move.
Their statements came despite Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh defending the decision of appointing Arjun Pratap Singh Bajwa as an inspector in the Punjab Police and Bhisham Pandey as a naib tehsildar in the Revenue Department on “compassionate” grounds.
Bajwa and Pandey are sons of Qadian MLA Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa and Ludhiana legislator Rakesh Pandey.
The fact that their grandfathers had been gunned down by terrorists during Punjab militancy days was cited as the ground for compassion to make them gazetted, class B government servants, despite they themselves being sons of the ruling party MLAs.
Besides Jakhar, Congress legislators Kuljit Nagra and Amrinder Singh Raja Warring also expressed displeasure over the move.
In a cabinet meeting on Friday, five ministers-–Sukhjinder Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Razia Sultana, Charanjit Singh Channi and Sukhbinder Sarkaria--were learnt to have also opposed this move.
Already, the Opposition parties are criticising the decision. Hours after facing criticism, Amarinder Singh remained unfazed and asserted that there was no question of rescinding the decision.
“'No question of rescinding #PunjabCabinet decision on jobs for sons of 2 @INCPunjab MLAs. It is just a small token of gratitude & compensation for the sacrifices of their families. It's shameful that some people are giving political colour to this decision.':@capt_amarinder,” according to a tweet by the CM's media adviser.
“'I fail to see any reason for removing any officer in my govt under political pressure. Each one of them is doing excellent work for the state, and I need them to continue helping my govt fulfill all the pending promises we'd made to the people of Punjab': @capt_amarinder,” said another tweet.
Earlier, defending the decision, the CM said it was a recognition of the sacrifices made by their grandfathers, who laid down their lives for the country.
The CM said those who make a sacrifice for the nation can, and should, never be forgotten.
Their families deserve to be compensated for the loss, he further said.
He asserted that he would give jobs to anyone coming from a family that had made similar sacrifices.
But after the CM's statement, Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar urged Amarinder Singh to rescind the “ill-advised” appointments in greater public interest.
Even as he underlined the fact that it is the moral duty of the nation and the government to take care in every way of the families of freedom fighters and those who give their lives for the country, Jakhar said it would not be proper to keep recent appointments made on compassionate grounds in the same league.
Jakhar, in a statement, said certain elected representatives tending to their own families do not deserve the same consideration as is due to those who make the supreme sacrifice for the nation.
“Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh Ji must reverse the ill-advised decision”, Jakhar said, cautioning against potential charges of nepotism and political expediency.
“The decision is also in my view against the ethos and culture of neutrality followed by Amarinder Singh and the Congress Party as a whole,” he said.
Congress MLAs Kuljit Nagra said he was not in favour of this decision. “I urge the cabinet and the CM that this decision should be rolled back keeping in mind the future of youth and the CM should again call a cabinet meeting to reverse this move,” said Nagra.
Gidderbaha MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring appealed to Fateh Jung Bajwa and Rakesh Pandey not to accept these jobs for their sons.
Meanwhile, the Shiromani Akali Dal urged the Punjab Governor to dismiss the Congress government by taking suo motu notice of the manner in which the CM was allegedly “purchasing” the loyalty of Congress legislators to “save his chair by doling out jobs to their wards illegally'.
SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia said in case the Governor did not take action, the President should take note of the “unconstitutional” appointments and dismiss the Amarinder Singh government immediately.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Harpal Singh Cheema said with this decision, the “anti-people” face of the Congress government has been 'exposed'.
In a statement, Cheema said that the AAP condemns the decision of giving jobs to sons of the two Congress MLAs, whose families are well off.
BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh said Amarinder Singh has been giving jobs to the kin of the Congress MLAs to keep his flock together in the face of “fierce dissidence” in the party.
Chugh said it was “highly immoral” to give jobs to the kin of the Congress MLAs in the name of militancy after 35 years at a stage when lakhs of young Punjabis have been looking for jobs. PTI CHS VSD RDK RDK