The Congress on Thursday hit out at the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab over the arrest of its MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira in connection with a 2015 drugs case, saying this was proof of ”politics of revenge” and an attempt to suppress the voice of the opposition by the state dispensation.
The Congress and the AAP are part of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) but have been at loggerheads with each other over various issues in Delhi and Punjab where the Arvind Kejriwal-led party is in power.
Khaira was arrested by the Punjab Police in connection with a 2015 drugs case on Thursday morning, official sources said. A team led by Superintendent of Police Manjeet Singh raided the Chandigarh residence of Khaira around 6 am.
The MLA’s son went live on Facebook showing that a team of Punjab Police has reached their residence to apprehend Khaira. In the video, Khaira could be seen arguing with the police team and asking them to show him the arrest warrant.
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In a post on X, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said, ”Kisan Congress President Sukhpal Khaira ji’s arrest is proof of the politics of revenge of the Punjab government. This step of the Aam Aadmi Party government is an attempt to suppress the voice of the opposition. This is completely wrong.” ”We are all with Sukhpal ji,” she said.
In a post in Hindi on X, the Congress said, ”All India Kisan Congress chairman Sukhpal Khaira Ji’s arrest is a proof of abuse of power and retaliation. The entire Congress family stands with him against this petty conspiracy to suppress his loud voice against injustice.” ”We are not ready to bow down, not ready to stop. We will fight and win,” the party said.
The Punjab Congress also hit out at the AAP government, accusing it of indulging in political vendetta. Congress state unit chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring and Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa strongly condemned the arrest of Khaira.
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party, however, rejected the allegation and asserted that the action against the Bholath MLA was taken as per law.
Warring visited the residence of Khaira after his arrest and met his son Mehtab Khaira and other family members. He said they stand by the Bholath MLA.
The Punjab Congress chief questioned the police action, asking what kind of probe was conducted by the Punjab Police which led to Khaira’s arrest after eight years.
”It shows that ‘jungle raj’ is prevailing in the state,” Warring said and questioned the absence of Chandigarh Police during the Punjab Police action.
In a post on X, Warring said, ”The recent arrest of MLA Sukhpal Khaira ji smacks of political vendetta. It is an attempt to intimidate the opposition and is a ploy of the AAP government in Punjab to distract (people) from core issues. We stand strongly with Sukhpal Khaira and will take this fight to its logical conclusion.” Bajwa said, ”The arrest of senior Congress leader Sukhpal Khaira is extremely deplorable. The AAP government in Punjab has stooped to an all-time low and resorted to vendetta politics. Sukhpal Singh Khaira has been outspoken and raised his voice against the wrongdoings and irregularities committed by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s government.” ”The Punjab Congress under the ambit of law will leave no stone unturned to get him released,” he added.