Capt defends govt jobs to sons of Cong MLAs; SAD says ‘purchasing loyalty’

Taking a dig at the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Amarinder said if these parties provide names of any youth whose father or grandfather have made similar sacrifices for the nation, they will also be provided jobs.

Under fire from the opposition over giving government jobs to sons of two Congress MLAs, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh Saturday defended the decision, saying it was a recognition of the sacrifices made by their grandfathers, who laid down their lives for the country.

“Those who make a sacrifice for the nation can, and should, never be forgotten. Their families deserve to be compensated for the loss,” the CM said while informally interacting with media persons outside the residence of Milkha Singh, where he had gone to pay his last respects to the legendary athlete.

Taking a dig at the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which have criticised the government’s move, Amarinder said if these parties provide names of any youth whose father or grandfather have made similar sacrifices for the nation, they will also be provided jobs.

The CM said he had tried to find such people in these parties but could find none.

Amid opposition by five ministers, the state Cabinet on Friday approved appointment of Arjun Pratap Singh Bajwa as an inspector in the Punjab Police and Bhisham Pandey as a naib tehsildar in the revenue department as a “special case” on “compassionate” ground.

Arjun Bajwa and Bhisham are sons of Qadian MLA Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa and Ludhiana legislator Rakesh Pandey, respectively. Arjun Bajwa is the grandson of former Punjab Minister Satnam Singh Bajwa, who laid his life in 1987 for the sake of peace and harmony in the state while Bhisham is the grandson of Joginder Pal Pandey who was gunned down by terrorists in 1987, the government had said.

Amarinder asserted that he would give jobs to anyone coming from a family that had made similar sacrifices.

He pointed out that Punjab had been through tough times in the dark days of terrorism, when 35,000 innocent lives had been lost to senseless violence. As many as 1,700 police personnel had also died, he recalled, adding that it was not sufficient to pay tributes to these people at their memorials, and the state needed to do something more to compensate their families.

“We cannot allow their sacrifices to go waste,” Amarinder said, adding that Punjab salutes those who have shed blood for the country, and his government will continue to recognise their contribution to the state’s peace and harmony.

Meanwhile, the SAD urged the Punjab governor to dismiss the Congress government by taking suo motu notice of the manner in which the CM was allegedly “purchasing” the loyalty of Congress legislators to “save his chair by doling out jobs to their wards illegally.”

SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia also asked the youth whose rights had been “usurped” by Congress leaders to ‘gherao’ the chief minister and ministers to demand jobs for deserving and meritorious students. Majithia said in case the governor did not take action in the matter, the president should take note of the “unconstitutional” appointments and dismiss the Amarinder Singh government immediately.

He said the SAD-BSP alliance would quash all “illegal” appointments made on compassionate grounds and also register cases against those responsible for the wrongdoing, once voted to power.

Majithia said it is condemnable that Amarinder had taken an oath to provide jobs to each and every household and even got forms filled by the youth in this regard. “However jobs have only been given to ‘crorepati’ Congressmen be it the family of former CM Beant Singh whose grandson was recruited as a DSP, wards of Congress MLAs Fateh Jung Bajwa and Rakesh Pandey,” he alleged.

The SAD leader said both the candidates were “not eligible” for jobs under compassionate grounds.

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