CHANDIGARH: Congress MLA Fatehjang Singh Bajwa on Thursday said he has declined the government job offer for his son and asked state party chief Sunil Jakhar and two ministers of setting a similar precedence.
Bajwa has been under fire from some party colleagues and the Opposition over the issue after the Punjab cabinet last week approved a proposal to appoint his son Arjun Partap Singh Bajwa as an inspector in the Punjab Police.
Apart from the Opposition, several Congress leaders, including state party president Sunil Jakhar, had questioned the government decision.
Five ministers–Sukhjinder Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Razia Sultana, Charanjit Singh Channi and Sukhbinder Sarkaria–had also opposed the move in a cabinet meeting.
Reacting to the criticism, the Qadian legislator said his son has set a “precedent” by giving up the job offer and slammed the Opposition and his party colleagues for criticising the government decision.
He said Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa’s son is the Gurdaspur zila parishad chairman, Sarkaria’s nephew holds the position of the chairman of the Amritsar zila parishad while Jakhar’s nephew is the chief of the Punjab State Farmers’ Commission.
Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhbinder Sarkaria and Sunil Jakhar should set the same precedence, he said.
Bajwa told reporters that his family decided not to accept this job offer after witnessing “petty” politics over the issue.
He said before the cabinet meeting held last week, he had requested Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to withdraw the agenda of job offer as he did not want it for his son.
The MLA said he was also aware that some of the party colleagues had planned to object to the job offer in the cabinet meeting, apparently referring to the five ministers.
Bajwa said he gave a letter on giving up the job offer to Amarinder Singh, who showed it to the three-member committee formed to end factionalism in the state unit.
He said Jakhar had even written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi about the job offer and had even called him up on this issue.
When asked why the CM brought the agenda in the cabinet meeting when he had already declined the job offer, Bajwa said it was only Amarinder Singh who could reply.
Meanwhile, Jakhar hit back and advised the “politically and economically well-placed” Bajwa family to “apologise” for hurting the sentiments of the youth of the state.
Slamming Bajwa for questioning the appointment of Ajay Vir Jakhar as the chairman of the Punjab State Farmers’ and Farm Workers’ Commission, Jakhar said he did not draw any salary or other emoluments.
“The Bajwa family by accepting a government job for its kin has not only hurt the feelings of thousands of jobless youth but also damaged the reputation of the chief minister and the Congress Party besides tarnishing their deceased father’s name,” Jakhar said in a statement here.
He said even now by “pretending” to quit the job on moral grounds and “throwing mud” on others, the Bajwa family was trying to “hoodwink” the public and “cover up their monumental blunder”.
It would have been better even today if the family had admitted the “mistake” and publicly apologised to the people of the state, he stated.
Due to his understanding of the agriculture sector, even before he became the chairman of the commission, Ajay is regularly being invited by the Government of India for discussions before the annual budget for the past several years, said Jakhar.
Bajwa’s son Arjun Partap Singh Bajwa said he thanked the CM for offering him the job but he was pained at the “petty” politics being played over this issue.
“The whole issue has been blown out of proportion,” said Arjun who accompanied his father.
The 27-year-old said, “It would have been a tribute to my late grandfather. I think life has better things to offer me,” said Arjun who is into acting.