AAP government and the opposition parties in Punjab are daggers drawn over the registration of police cases against poet Kumar Vishwas and Congress leader Alka Lamba with the latter accusing the AAP of using police for political vendetta. A report by Rajesh Moudgil
Within a few weeks of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) coming to power in Punjab, the state police registered cases against poet Kumar Vishwas and Congress leader Alka Lamba for their remarks against AAP supremo and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. The merits of the case notwithstanding, the spat promises to snowball given the retort by the accused so far. Also, all the opposition leaders in Punjab have also taken on the state AAP government, accusing it of misusing the police for political vendetta.
Kumar Vishwas, who was formerly an AAP leader, and the Congress leader Alka Lamba have been booked by Punjab police on April 12, 2022, for allegedly promoting enmity by making false statements against Kejriwal in the run-up to the February 20 assembly elections in Punjab. The state police were also quick to go to Noida (Uttar Pradesh) and Delhi recently to serve notice at their respective residences and ask them to join the police probe.
Stating that the Kumar Vishwas and Alka Lamba were booked on April 12, 2022, the police told newspersons that a police team had been sent to serve a notice to her to join the investigation. While Kumar Vishwas was asked to join the investigation within 48 hours, Lamba was asked to do so on April 26, 2022.
It may be recalled that it was alleged that Kumar Vishwas had questioned Kejriwal whether or not the latter had any links with the supporters of Khalistan in the run-up to the February 20 assembly elections. According to the police, the complainant in the case had said that when he was campaigning in a village along with AAP supporters, some masked men stopped them and called them Khalistani.
Oppn tears into AAP
Congress leader Partap Singh Bajwa, who is the leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the state assembly, took to Twitter to say that the “AAP Punjab is using the Punjab police as their private security staff. Sending SIT notices & threatening those who have spoken out against them. This is a political attack against an individual who stood firm in her belief. Absolutely uncalled for action by Punjab police’’.
Another Congress legislator and former home minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said the “badlav’’ (change) government was actually “badla’’ (revenge) government. Suggesting chief minister Bhagwant Mann to work on the law and order situation in Punjab than using the Punjab police with a policy of vengeance at the behest of Arvind Kejriwal, he said that the policy of vendetta always backfires.
Another Congress MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema also accused the AAP of political vendetta against former AAP leader and poet Kumar Vishwas and said the AAP was misusing Punjab police to suppress the voice of political opponents. Khaira also urged Bhagwant Mann not to misuse the Punjab police to settle political scores. It may be recalled that Khaira had rejoined Congress after deserting AAP last year.
The Punjab state BJP president Ashwani Sharma has written a letter to the Home minister Amit Shah apprising him of the politicalisation of Punjab police by APP. The AAP has made the state police a “puppet” to victimise and harass opposition leaders, he said.
Sharma said that in the last few days, cases against some other BJP leaders, namely Tejinder Bhaga, Preeti Gandhi, and Naveen Kumar Jindal and Congress leader Alka Lamba had been registered by the state police. The AAP is, unfortunately, resorting to using the state police to “fix” political opponents. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann are masterminding the entire vendetta against their rival political parties, Sharma added.
Claiming that a delegation of the BJP had also taken an appointment with the DGP to apprise him of the rapidly deteriorating law and order situation in the state, though, regrettably the DGP did not meet the BJP leaders. The delegation was made to wait unceremoniously and then told that the DGP was not available while the DGP was meeting people who had been given time, Sharma held.
The BJP leaders further held that earlier, the police had also booked two Delhi BJP leaders, namely Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga and Naveen Kumar Jindal. While Bagga was booked for allegedly attacking Kejriwal over his remarks on the movie “The Kashmir files”, Jindal was booked for allegedly sharing a video clip – said to be doctored – of Kejriwal on April 6, according to media reports.
Vishwas, Lamba put up a brave front
Meanwhile, while rebuffing Punjab police action, Kumar Vishwas said in his Tweet aside from posting some pictures of cops at his residence: “The Punjab police arrived at my doorstep early morning. I am cautioning Bhagwant Mann, who I admitted into the party myself, that the person sitting in Delhi who you are letting play with the power given by the people of Punjab, will betray both you and Punjab one day. The country should remember my warning’’.
Reacting sharply to the Punjab police notice, Alka Lamba also said in her Tweet (in Hindi) saying that police had reached her residence and pasted the notice on the wall of her house and that she being a Gandhian soldier of Congress, was not afraid of it.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee has also written to Punjab Police DGP V K Bhawra to cancel the FIR registered against Alka Lamba and Kumar Vishwas. Seeking immediate cancellation of the FIR, the Congress has also demanded stern action against the officers who allegedly went overboard with the registration of the case. The party president Amarinder Singh Raja Warring and the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Partap Singh Bajwa held that it was not just the misuse of power and authority but total abuse of power as well. However, the AAP has denied Congress’ allegations and said the police were working fearlessly and without any pressure. The cases have been registered on the basis of valid complaints and those booked should cooperate with the police, the AAP chief spokesperson Malwinder Singh Kang said.