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Punjab cabinet ministers accuse SAD, AAP of politicising hooch tragedy

Dismiss accusations about the complicity of some elected Congress leaders

Updated: Aug 07, 2020 00:55 IST

By HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times/Chandigarh

Four Punjab cabinet ministers slammed the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) saying they were using the hooch tragedy to toy with the sentiments of the people with an eye on the assembly elections due in 2022.

In a joint statement, cabinet ministers Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Sunder Sham Arora and Bharat Bhushan Ashu said the opposition was so busy playing to the gallery that the sufferings of the victims and their families seemed not to have affected them. Referring to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal’s statement seeking the state government’s dismissal, they said the game plan of the party had been exposed.

“It is clear that following the pattern of Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, the Akalis, acting on the directives of their political master – the Bharatiya Janata Party – are trying to destabilise Punjab’s duly elected government,” the ministers said. They said the machinations of the Akalis will not succeed, and they would end up humiliating themselves.

Drawing attention to the different hooch tragedies that had taken place under the SAD rule, and were taking place in many states even under BJP-ruled governments, the ministers challenged Sukhbir to come forward with details of the action taken.

The ministers also ridiculed the Akalis for making baseless accusations about the complicity of some elected Congress leaders. “Wait for the inquiry to be over. The chief minister has already made it clear that no one involved in the tragedy will be spared,” said the ministers, adding that if the government had gone by mere hearsay and wild allegations, without any investigations (which incidentally are underway), both Sukhbir and his brother-in-law Bikram Singh Majithia would have been behind bars by now.

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