CM breaks silence over Dubai visit
Dera Bassi (Patiala), July 4
“As Chief Minister of the state, I have every right to visit any place in India and abroad and I do not owe any explanation to anybody except my own party and office. I had duly informed both of them about my visit well in advance,” he said during an interaction with newsmen here this morning.
The Chief Minister had gone to Dubai to attend the wedding anniversary of a close relative of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee chief Paramjit Singh Sarna. Accompanied by his Media Adviser, Mr BIS Chahal, and the Superintendent of Police (Security), Mr Khubhi Ram, the Chief Minister had travelled to Dubai by Emirates Airline.
“He spent 57 hours in Dubai and stayed at our family house,” claimed Mr Sarna maintaining that he had paid for the tickets of the Chief Minister and his party. Liquor baron Ponty Chadha, too, had joined the Chief Minister in the celebrations in Dubai.
The Shiromani Akali Dal leaders had raised a plethora of questions about violation of security, protocol and foreign exchange norms by the Chief Minister and his group for the visit which they alleged was kept a closely guarded secret.
The Dal leaders had maintained that the Chief Minister was free to travel anywhere but he owed an explanation to the people of Punjab as well as the state about his “whereabouts”.
Lashing out at the President of Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, Capt Amarinder Singh said Mr Badal was desperate as his party did not have any political issue except ridiculing and criticising the government and raking up such frivolous and baseless issues just to gain cheap popularity.
He pointed out that last year SAD had kicked up an intranet controversy but nothing came out of it. Mr Badal and his party had been harping on the issue of his visit to Dixie Gurdwara. He claimed that Mr Badal and his party were overawed by the performance and popularity of his government in the state.
Talking about continuous absence from office, the Chief Minister said he was on a business trip to Canada for 10 days. On his return, he sprained his foot before he had a bout of viral fever.
Due to illness he was not able to attend some important meetings, including that of the National Development Council and the Inter-State Council in New Delhi last week. He, however, claimed that not a single file was pending in his office.
The CM was also accompanied by Mr Partap Singh Bajwa, PWD (B and R) Minister, Punjab.