Assertive BJP to root for Punjab Dy CM post

Party MP from Amritsar Navjot Sidhu castigated the BJP state leadership, including ministers in the Akali-BJP government, for maintaining silence over crucial issues, it was decided that the state BJP would show its assertiveness by laying claim to the post of deputy chief minister, BJP sources said.

The claim will be renewed shortly after incumbent Sukhbir Badal, son of Punjab Chief Minister P S Badal, submits his resignation for failing to get elected to the state assembly within six months of his “coronation” as mandated in the constitution. He is likely to step down by July 21, the last date of the deadline.

“We will certainly stake our claim to the post of deputy CM to correct the power imbalance in the coalition government,” said Balramji Dass Tandon, a senior BJP leader and a former minister. He said it was for the first time that an Akali-led government “is dependent on the support of the BJP. Therefore, it cannot take the BJP for granted,” he added.
Protest ignored
The BJP had strongly protested to its high command when Badal had appointed his son Sukhbir deputy CM in January this year, ignoring the claim of the BJP for the same post.
The recent executive committee meeting of the party especially discussed the recent  violence in Punjab involving Akali leaders and activists. One of the incidents pertained to beating up of a senior revenue official by Akali councillors. In another incident, an Akali MLA had abused the senior-most BJP minister Manoranjan Kalia at the latter’s official residence for allegedly delaying sanction for his personal projects.

The Akali MLA was forced to apologise to the BJP minister after the irate state BJP leadership approached the high command. Sidhu had strongly raised the matter of “silence” of BJP ministers and leaders on issues of political violence saying their meekness had led to the massive defeat of the party in recent parliamentary elections.

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