CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Monday accused his predecessor Amarinder Singh and the Shiromani Akali Dal of being secretly engaged in a seat-sharing exercise ahead of the Assembly polls early next year.
He charged that Amarinder Singh, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal and the BJP leadership had been hand in glove in the past and said they are “clandestinely harming” the state’s interests even now.
He claimed that Singh, who recently floated his own party after quitting the ruling Congress in the state, had been playing a “friendly match” with the Badals of the Akali Dal.
Addressing a conclave organised by a private television channel, Channi said the former chief minister and the Badals helped each other to pursue their “narrow vested interests”.
He described them as “foes-turned-friends” and said they are “secretly engaged in adjustment of seats for the upcoming assembly polls to extend political gains to one another”.
Channi also alleged that Amarinder Singh and the SAD and BJP leaders earlier worked “hand in glove” and would continue to pursue their politically motivated agenda in the future too.
They are “clandestinely harming the state’s interests, solely eyeing the forthcoming assembly polls”, a state government statement quoted him as saying at the event.
The chief minister said there was a sea change now in the mood of the rank and file of the Congress, “especially after the ouster of Captain Amarinder Singh”.
Both Amarinder Singh and the BJP have said they are working on an alliance, along with former Akali leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s outfit, for the assembly polls.
The SAD, however, had walked out of the BJP-led NDA over the now repealed farm laws.
Channi also hit out at Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal.
He asked the Delhi chief minister to concentrate on his own government rather than “befooling” people of Punjab by promising them the moon, knowing that he will never come to power in Punjab, the statement said.
Channi said the opposition leaders had earlier mocked him, asking what he could do.
“Now with my performance on the ground they are compelled to say what to do about him.”
On the possibility of Amarinder Singh damaging the poll prospects of the Congress, he said the former CM could not deliver during the four and half years of his term and
confined himself within the four walls of his farmhouse”.
Singh’s “fledgling party” lacked credibility, he added.
Asked to comment on Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, Channi claimed there was “perfect coordination” between them.
Reacting to the Centre’s recent move to increase the jurisdiction of the Border Force up to 15 km from the boundary, he accused the BJP government of trying to create “a bogey of terrorism” to thrust the “unwarranted decision” on people of the state.
He said the state police force was competent to handle law and order as demonstrated by its handling of militancy in the past.
On the 2015 sacrilege case and the drug trafficking issue, he said justice would soon be delivered to the satisfaction of the people.