Cong govt reduced Cheema's security cover: SAD

AFP file photo

Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal lashed out at Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday, accusing him of reducing security of SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema "out of frustration" over the Congress' defeat in the Dakha assembly bypoll.

The ruling Congress won three Assembly seats, while the opposition SAD won one in the Punjab bypolls, the results of which were announced on Thursday.

The Congress managed to cause a major upset to the SAD in Jalalabad, considered to be a stronghold of the Akalis, while the SAD dealt a blow to the grand old party by handing it a crushing defeat in Dakha by a margin of 14,672 votes.

In a statement here, the SAD claimed that the state government withdrew five of the seven security personnel attached with Cheema, who is a former minister and party's senior vice president.

Cheema was the party's poll in-charge in Dakha segment.

"The decision (reducing security) came at the peak of the counting of the bye elections in the state at the end of which the ruling party suffered a crushing defeat in Dakha assembly constituency," SAD chief Badal said.

Badal claimed that the chief minister "wanted" to expose his opponent's life to danger as he felt "helpless" in dealing with the challenge mounted by the SAD leadership and workers to the "wrong and anti-people" policies of the Congress government.

The Akali leader apprehended that more party leaders could become the "target" of Amarinder Singh's politics of "personal and political vendetta".

Badal said that neither the party nor Cheema had ever sought any security cover from the government. The security was provided to him on the basis of the threat perception to his life as per the government's own intelligence reports.

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