Centre using ED as weapon to silence Opposition: Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann : The Tribune India

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The Tribune INTERVIEW

Centre using ED as weapon to silence Opposition: Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann

Centre using ED as weapon to silence Opposition: Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann

Bhagwant Mann, CM



All AAP workers are generals and sepoys too. We are prepared to fight till our last breath against the BJP’s attempt at silencing us. If the BJP thinks it has silenced the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) after arresting Arvind Kejriwal, it is mistaken. We are the product of a revolution and have fire to stand against the oppression, said Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann in a special interview with Sanjeev Singh Bariana, Associate Editor.

The public never speaks its heart out before the elections. People are watching how all government agencies are being misused to silence the Opposition by the BJP. — Bhagwant Mann, CM

What has changed in the political scenario after the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal?

Our democracy will be murdered, if the current political scenario continues. This is not for what our freedom fighters laid their lives for. The Constitution will be meaningless if the Enforcement Directorate is used as a weapon by the BJP to silence the Opposition like it has been done in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and West Bengal. Look at the crooks becoming a part of the BJP, as shown in the electoral bonds data released recently. Look at how eight out of 36 votes in the Chandigarh Mayoral polls were tempered in front of the camera to benefit the BJP.

How are you prepared to face the situation?

The public never speaks its heart out before the elections. People are watching how all government agencies are being misused to silence the Opposition. The June 4 results will be a new chapter in the history of our country.

Do you have any fear that Central agencies could take action in Punjab over its liquor policy, on the lines of the Delhi liquor policy case?

All noise is meaningless. We have increased the liquor revenue in the state from Rs 6,200 crore annually to Rs 9,200 crore. We will soon cross the Rs 10,000-crore mark. This is far above the collections made by the earlier governments of the Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal. They had only helped their relatives and financiers.

You accuse the BJP of targeting the Opposition, but there are allegations that your government has done the same to over 10 top Congress leaders.

There is no comparison in cases between leaders of the two parties. Former Industries and Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora was caught red-handed for handing over a bribe of Rs 50 lakh. Former Food and Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu was arrested for direct involvement in the tender scam. Former Forest Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot was nabbed for his involvement in a forests scam. In our case, the ED has not even been able to establish any money trail. Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh, who was arrested, had no direct or even indirect link with the policy decision.

SAD leader Bikram Majithia is being called repeatedly by SIT in a drugs case for which he was booked in 2021, but why have the authorities failed to file a challan against him?

The case got complicated during the time of the Congress government. There were many loose ends. We are rewriting the case file. The challan will definitely be put up and the guilty will not be spared.

What is being done to check the falling underground water level?

In the first place, we are reviving the tract of ‘dead’ canals. Underground pipes are being put at several places. The use of canal water has doubled during the past two years. Once the process is complete, there will be reduction of more than five lakh tubewells out of the existing 14.50 lakh.

You had promised to create new job avenues in the state, but a large number of youth continue to move abroad in search of opportunities.

The situation has changed now. Many countries, including Canada, have stopped the easy entry of students. At the same time, we have started regular recruitment drives. We have decided to recruit about 2,200 police personnel each year. This will soon be introduced in other departments.

#Aam Aadmi Party AAP #Arvind Kejriwal #Bhagwant Mann #BJP


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