AAP Faces ‘Kejriwal-controlled Punjab’ Charge after Buzz of His Meeting with State Officials in CM’s Absence

Barely a month into power, the “Kejriwal-controlled Punjab” charge has come back to haunt the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), with a united opposition kicking up a controversy over an alleged meeting of the state’s bureaucrats on Monday with the chief minister of Delhi.

From the Congress to the Bharatiya Janata Party, leaders from opposition outfits flayed the AAP convener for reportedly meeting top officials of Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) along with the state chief secretary and power secretary in the alleged absence of chief minister Bhagwant Mann.

The newly elected Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring took to Twitter not only to criticise Kejriwal for “summoning” Punjab officers but also the Centre’s interference in the state’s law and order in the context of the Punjab governor’s visits to border areas.

He maintained that since the CM was meeting the President, he should take up the issue with him. This is an exclusive state subject and it is the chief minister who should be touring border districts, the state Congress chief said.

He was followed by his predecessor Navjot Singh Sidhu, who also sought an explanation from the chief minister.

The Shiromani Akali Dal asked the chief minister to safeguard the interests of Punjab and ensure it is not remote-controlled from Delhi.

The BJP too joined the chorus. Party national general secretary Tarun Chugh lambasted Kejriwal for “converting Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann into a rubber stamp chief minister”.

Chugh said it was a grossly unconstitutional act of the Delhi chief minister, which has exposed the fact that only Kejriwal would be the supremo in Punjab and Bhagwant Mann would be his “rubber stamp”. Chugh said it was not only an insult to the state government officials but also a disgraceful moment for Punjab itself that it would be run by another chief minister from Delhi.

Former CM Amarinder Singh alleged that the “worst had happened” and that Arvind Kejriwal “has taken over Punjab” long before expected.

But AAP played down the issue, maintaining that the opposition parties were needlessly raking up a controversy. “He is our national convener. We always take his guidance. If for some constructive step and betterment of Punjab, an informal meeting was held, then opposition should not criticise it but rather support it,” AAP spokesperson Malwinder Singh Kang told the media.

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