Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu again demanded a replacement of Punjab’s police chief and advocate general on Sunday, saying otherwise the ruling party in the state will suffer a loss of face.
Hours later, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi reminded that the names of 10 police officers have already been sent to the Centre.
He asserted that a “good” officer will be appointed as the director general of police (DGP) after consulting Mr Sidhu, ministers and MLAs once the state government receives three shortlisted names from the Centre.
“Demand for Justice in Sacrilege cases and for arrest of main culprits behind the drug trade brought our Govt in 2017 & Due to his failure, People removed the last CM. Now, AG/DG appointments rub salt on wounds of victims, they must be replaced or we will have No face!! (sic),” Mr Sidhu said in a tweet.
The development comes three days after Mr Sidhu and Mr Channi held a meeting, following which it was decided to set up a coordination panel for prior consultation on all major decisions of the state government.
Talking to reporters in Morinda on the sidelines of a government function, Mr Channi said a regular DGP is yet to be appointed when he was asked about Mr Sidhu’s demand for changing the state police chief and the advocate general.
“I have told Sidhu sahab and he also knows that the names of the police officers who have completed 30 years in service have been sent to the Centre for the appointment of a DGP.
“We have sent the names and the Centre will now send us a three-member panel (for the selection of a regular DGP),” he said.
The state government has sent the names of 10 police officers to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for the appointment of a regular DGP.
After considering their service records and other necessary requirements, the UPSC will send the names of three officers to the state government, which will then select one of them for the post.
To a question, Mr Channi said his government will take everyone along and perform with honesty.
“The party work is being looked after by Sidhu sahab. We should both work in coordination and we are doing so. If anything is not being liked, then we have set up a coordination committee at the party forum where we can discuss it,” he added.
A miffed Mr Sidhu, who resigned as the Punjab Congress chief a few days ago, had raised a question over the appointments of the DGP, the advocate general and “tainted” leaders as ministers.
He has been seeking the removal of senior IPS officer Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota, who was given the additional charge of DGP in Punjab after the previous state police chief, Dinkar Gupta, proceeded on leave.
Mr Sahota was the head of the special investigation team (SIT) formed in 2015 by the then Akali-BJP government to probe sacrilege incidents in the state.
Mr Sidhu attacked Sahota on Thursday, alleging that he wrongly indicted two Sikh men in a desecration case and gave a clean chit to the members of the Badal family.
The cricketer-turned-politician has also been raising questions over the appointment of A S Deol as the state’s new advocate general.
Mr Deol was the counsel for former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini in 2015 post the police firing in the wake of incidents of sacrilege.
On Saturday, Mr Sidhu had said he would stand with Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra whether he holds any post or not.
“Will uphold principles of Gandhi Ji & Shastri Ji…Post or No Post will stand by @RahulGandhi & @priyankagandhi! Let all negative forces try to defeat me, but with every ounce of positive energy will make Punjab win, Punjabiyat (Universal Brotherhood) win & every Punjabi win!! (sic),” he had tweeted on the birth anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and former prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.
Mr Sidhu’s abrupt resignation has triggered a fresh turmoil in the Punjab Congress.
The Congress replaced Amarinder Singh as the Punjab chief minister with Mr Channi following a bitter power tussle between Mr Sidhu and Mr Singh.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)