Even as questions are being raised over the role of Punjab Police in Wednesday’s alleged security lapse during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit, on the ground the incident is fast becoming a major political issue in the poll-bound state.
On a day when the Punjab government ordered a probe into the incident, the BJP upped the ante by demanding the sacking of state home minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and the police chief.
A delegation of state BJP leaders, while making a representation to the Punjab governor, also trashed the formation of the probe panel. Some BJP leaders have even called for the Charanjit Singh Channi-led government to be dismissed. Already, BJP’s poll partner in the state, former CM Captain Amarinder Singh has said that President’s Rule should be imposed in Punjab.
CM Channi, meanwhile, has called Prime Minister Modi’s “life threat” a gimmick aimed at toppling a democratically elected government in the state.
“How can the life of the PM be threatened if the protesters were more than a kilometre away from him?” he asked, while addressing a rally at Tanda in Hoshiarpur.
Channi said if police had used force against protesting farmers, it would have turned into a “Bargari-like incident”.
“Then there would have been no difference between the Badals and us. When they could have been removed by persuasion and assurance, why does the Centre expect us to use force?” he questioned.
The Punjab CM also alleged that PM Modi and the BJP were wrongly defaming Punjab. “Till the time I am the CM of Punjab, not even a single bullet will be fired on peaceful protesters and force will not be used; those protesting will be persuaded by talks,” he said.
Punjab BJP is contemplating highlighting the “deliberate breach” in its election rallies and events. Leaders said the issue was serious and had damaged the image of the state. “The government needs to be held accountable for the lapse. It’s not about election but putting a democratically elected prime minister of a country at risk,” said state BJP president Ashwani Sharma.