Chandigarh, Nov 29 (IANS) Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Tuesday said Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann should own responsibility for "failing" to maintain law and order and ensuring that no one is allowed to disturb communal harmony in Punjab.
In a statement here, the SAD President said instead of instilling confidence in people of Punjab by taking appropriate steps, the Chief Minister had fled the state to campaign for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Gujarat along with his cabinet.
Asserting that people of Punjab had given a massive mandate to AAP to bring about positive change and not use the state's resources to expand AAP's influence across the country and paralyse governance in the state, Badal said "never in the history of the state had such a situation arose when an elected government has forsaken its people and allowed the state to slip into anarchy".
Badal said, "No one is feeling safe in Punjab today. Targetted killings are an everyday event with an Akali worker gunned down near Batala today. Earlier, we have witnessed the gruesome murder of youth icon Sidhu Moosewala, RPG attack on the Punjab Police Intelligence headquarter, Hindu-Sikh clashes and even sensational escape of gangster Deepak Tinu from police custody.
"The AAP government has in eight months taken the state back by 24 years with people now being forced to remember the era of darkness of the 1980's which was also heralded by the breakdown of law and order and communal disturbances."
Asserting that the culture of extortions which was being patronised from jails had instilled fear in the minds of people from all walks of life, Badal said: "A number of investors have met me recently and told me that the atmosphere in Punjab is not conducive for investment currently. Even home-grown businessmen are choosing to move out of the state. All this is causing further job losses and unemployment with many youth approaching me and relating how they had lost jobs due to deteriorating industrial climate in the state."
He said the worst impact of this state of affairs was being felt in ties between the two principal communities and the atmosphere of peace and communal harmony painstakingly stitched together by former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal was looking like a thing of the distant past now.
Badal said it was condemnable that instead of going for a course correction, the AAP government was relying on cheap gimmicks and propaganda to fool the people.
"The Anti Gangster Force which was advertised by spending crores in advertisements has turned out to be a complete flop show. In fact, the state has witnessed an increase in activity of gangsters and subsequent killings and extortions. Similarly, snatchings and robberies have increased bringing misery to the common man."
Asking the government to leave propaganda and take concrete measures to stem the rot, Badal called for efficient monitoring of police stations, increased patrolling and even night patrolling and zero tolerance towards crime.