Sukhbir slams Centre for 'misusing' Punjab Governor's office

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Patiala, Jan 4 (PTI) Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal on Monday accused the Centre of misusing the office of the Punjab Governor by summoning the state's top officers for explanations.

Badal also asked the Governor not to become a 'mouthpiece' of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

On Saturday, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh too had taken a strong exception to the Governor summoning the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police instead of seeking a report directly from him, as home minister, on the law and order situation.

Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore had on December 30 decided to summon the CS and the DGP while taking a serious note of vandalism of over 1,600 mobile towers during the ongoing protests of farmers against the Centre's new agri laws.

The SAD chief on Monday said the office of the Governor was being 'misused' in the same manner as was happening in West Bengal.

Badal was addressing a gathering at a gurdwara here where an 'Akhand Path' (continuous recitation of religious texts) was conducted to pay homage to Sant Ram Singh Singhri Wale and several farmers who died during the ongoing farmers' agitation against the Centre's farm laws, according to a party release.

Badal claimed that the SAD had approached the Governor with numerous memorandums on public issues like the hooch tragedy, liquor and wrongdoings of sand mafia and criminalization of politics during the last few years 'but he did not act on a single issue'.

'Now when the interest of BJP workers is at stake, the Governor has taken prompt action and summoned the senior-most officers for a dressing down,' he alleged.

Targeting Amarinder Singh, Badal said instead of objecting to the Governor's action in the media, the chief minister should have stopped his officers from going to the Raj Bhavan.

'This and several other actions of the chief minister prove that he is playing a double game and is essentially with the central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and not with the farmers,' Badal alleged.

Badal said the current situation had arisen due to the 'arrogance' of the prime minister. 'The longer the PM delays repealing of the agri laws, the stronger the agitation will become,' he added. PTI CHS VSD CK