Punjab: BJP stages sit-in outside Amarinder's house to protest attack on party MLA

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Chandigarh, Mar 28 (PTI) Several Punjab BJP leaders staged a sit-in outside the official residence of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh here on Sunday to protest the attack on a party MLA in Muktsar district.

BJP MLA from Abohar in Fazilka district Arun Narang was allegedly thrashed and his clothes ripped off by a group of protesting farmers in Muktsar's Malout on Saturday. The BJP leader had gone to Malout to address a press conference.

Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore also condemned the attack on Narang and sought a report from the Congress-led government in this regard.

The governor called up Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who holds the home portfolio, and conveyed his serious concern over the incident.

Badnore condemned the incident after a delegation of Punjab BJP leaders led by state unit chief Ashwani Sharma and Union minister Som Parkash called on him and submitted a memorandum.

After meeting the Punjab governor over the incident on Sunday morning, BJP leaders led by state party unit chief Ashwani Sharma headed to the chief minister's residence.

A few BJP leaders even took off their shirts as a mark of protest.

The protesters raised slogans against the Congress government in Punjab, alleging that law and order has completely broken down in the state.

'Does the opposition party (BJP) have no right to put forth its views?' Sharma asked while condemning the attack on Narang.

'The voice of the BJP cannot be suppressed. We have never seen democracy being shamed this way,' he said.

'What was the fault of Narang? He had gone there to highlight the failures of the state government,' said Sharma.

BJP leader and former minister Tikshan Sood demanded Singh's resignation.

'BJP leaders are being targeted. There is no sign of democracy in the state. We came here to tell him (the CM) that he is not capable of running the state and should resign,' said Sood.

Singh had on Saturday strongly condemned the attack on Narang and also warned of strict action against anyone trying to disturb peace in the state.

Later, addressing a press conference, Sharma said, 'The incident has exposed the tall claims of the state government regarding the law and order situation.' 'This (Malout) incident indicates that there is no law and order in the state,' he said.

'I want to say that it is the Vidhan Sabha which was stripped not Arun Narang. It is the responsibility of the CM and the Vidhan Sabha Speaker to ensure the safety of a member,' he added.

Sharma said Narang was attacked in the presence of policemen and it seems that their hands had been tied.

'They have been directed to stop the BJP this way,' he alleged.

'Can you stifle the voice of the BJP in this manner?' he asked.

'It is the basic responsibility of the state government to ensure the safety of people and protect the rights of political parties,' Sharma said, adding that 'this government has completely failed on this count'.

The BJP leader further alleged, 'Amarinder Singh wants to create an atmosphere of fear in the state.' 'Even during the militancy period, such an atmosphere, which the Amarinder Singh government has created now, was not prevalent in the state. At that time also political parties held their programmes and nobody came to the stage to kill anyone. But today the situation is worse than that,' he claimed.

On the BJP delegation's meeting with the governor, Sharma said the party urged Badnore to recommend the dismissal of the state government to the Centre.

'If the CM cannot ensure the safety of a legislator, then how can he ensure the safety of the people of the state? He has no right to stay in office,' he said.

BJP leaders in Punjab are facing the ire of farmers demanding the withdrawal of the Centre's three new agricultural laws for the last four months. The agitating farmers have even disrupted programmes of BJP leaders on a few occasions.

Meanwhile, the BJP leaders and workers held protests at many places in the state against the attack on Narang.

They also burnt the effigies of the chief minister.

The protests were held at Gurdaspur, Patiala, Jalandhar, Batala and Ludhiana.

At Hoshiarpur, party workers led by senior party leader Avinash Rrai Khanna shouted slogans against the state government and demanded resignation of the CM.

Protesters condemned the Punjab government for its 'failure' in protecting Narang.

Khanna said the state government had 'miserably failed' in maintaining law and order in Punjab. PTI CHS VSD CK