Congress MLA from Jalandhar (Cantonment) Pargat Singh on Wednesday hit out at his own Congress government over the Kotkapura firing case, adding that chief minister Amarinder Singh’s own image had taken a hit.
“I suggested to the CM that he should get a survey of his own image (as the CM) done. In 2017, the election was fought in his name. We will know where we stand today. Today, the idea seems to be to bury every issue,” he said.
The former Indian hockey skipper, who is considered to be close to former Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, said, “The MLAs of Doaba region met the chief minister today. In 2017, it was a personality-based election and we had promised action on the sacrilege issue. People voted for Amarinder Singh and not the Congress party. But four years hence, we haven’t moved forward.”
“The state government had no interference in the SIT. At the same time, when 2-3 members of the SIT stopped participating in the investigations, someone has to take responsibility. Being the home minister, Amarinder Singh should take responsibility. During the last term, the same CM had acted against Ravi Sidhu. The perception was clear. If there is no intent (to act) then what will happen. It’s been four years; we have to face the people. The ministers were asked to resign if they want but how will they defend this issue. What will they tell people?” he added.
“When we go for meetings, they tell us technical things about what all happened. I am a hockey captain and even when I played well individually, as captain, I had a responsibility. The SIT (members) fought publicly for three months and it was bound to have an impact. Who had to handle that?” asked Pargat.
“In the last few days, ministers too have been criticised. I said have you left the ministers in a position to speak. What is public perception? I told Amarinder that time is precious, and we need to face the problem. We should at least introspect and try to find a solution. Window dressing will not help, the accused should be taken to task as perception is the key,” he added.
Pargat also referred to the letter he had written to the chief minister in 2019 wherein he had listed certain issues. “What all is happening are not things expected from an administrator like Amarinder Singh. I think other MLAs also see reason with me. Otherwise, why aren’t they defending the government openly? We should stay focused on the issue and try to improve the perception. Ultimately, it is about getting justice (in the sacrilege case),” he said.
“It’s not the same Captain as in the previous tenure… A perception among people is that Badals and Captain are together. Who will break that perception? It’s for the government to do that. Amarinder could have played his last inning well, but he didn’t,” he said, adding that setting up a mining board could be admitting the problem in a way.
CM’s challenge to Sidhu won’t solve sacrilege issue
On Amarinder’s challenge to former cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Tuesday that he was welcome to contest against him from Patiala, Pargat said: “The CM is a fatherly figure, we should not get into this. Even if both the CM and Navjot fight from Patiala, will it solve the (sacrilege) issue? It doesn’t suit a big leader to say such things.”
Letter leaked from CMO
Referring to his letter to the CM in 2019, Pargat said it got leaked from the office of the chief minister and he had not gone to the media. “They themselves create indiscipline. Then they ask us not to go to the media. But they themselves create indiscipline… Before that, I was not given an appointment for more than a month… Internal democracy seems to be disappearing,” he claimed.