Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Men of Action Bhagwant Mann and Navjot Singh Sidhu By Amba Charan Vashishth AAP and its Punjab CM nominee Bhagwant Mann seem either to be unaware of some of the healthy traditions or bent upon smashing these in the matter of installing a new CM. As per the tradition, when a political party was voted into power on its own strength, it convened a meeting of the newly-elected MLAs to elect its leader to be the CM. The person so elected accompanied by a few party MLAs called on the Governor with the claim to form a government. When a person whose party had not been blessed with an absolute majority, he was first elected leader of that party and with a copy of a number of MLAs belonging to other party/parties signing support for his/her meets the governor seeking his invitation to form a government. But AAP went forward defying the tradition. Mann was not elected the leader of the AAP legislature party but went to the governor with a letter signed by all the AAP MLAs expressing support for Bhagwant Singh Mann to form a new government. Mann has committed, deliberately or otherwise, an impropriety by ordering the police to withdraw the security from about 122 individuals, who include Panjab politicians, ex-ministers, and others. When a State Police Additional Director-General (ADGP) paid a courtesy call to Mann, the latter is reported to have directed him to do so. The ADG was over-smart and he issued directions the very next day. It needs to be kept in mind that Mann was not the CM at that time. It is still Charanjit Singh Channi who, though has resigned, as is the tradition, has been asked by the Governor to continue as acting CM till alternative arrangements are made. He will cease to be the acting CM the moment the Governor administers the oath to Mann. It is worthwhile to recall the great tradition in the USA. A new President is elected on the first Tuesday of November. The person elected continues to be President-elect till 21st January next year when an oath is administered to him. George Bush was the President of the USA completing his second term. His party’s candidate had lost the election to Bill Clinton. In the meantime, President Bush continued to pound bombs on Iraq. A press reporter went to Clinton and said you are the President-elect and Bush’s party candidate had been defeated. How can Bush continue to do that? Clinton’s response was marvelous in keeping with the tradition. He said, look, George Bush is my (and nation’s) President till January 21 and I support him for whatever he does till my oath-taking. Mann has also withdrawn the security of the incumbent Speaker and the Deputy Speaker. Perhaps Mann is not aware of the Constitutional position that a Speaker of the Assembly continues to function till a new person is elected by the new assembly. Even when the state assembly has been dissolved and it is under President’s rule, the office of the Speaker continues to function till a new person is elected after fresh elections. That can be because of a lack of knowledge and experience. SIDHU, TO WHERE? There is one and the only Sidhu in the country, maybe in the world even: Navjot Singh Sidhu. Don’t confuse him with his wife whose name is also Navjot Kaur Sidhu. They make a lovely couple, made for each other. He was elected to the Lok Sabha from Amritsar (Panjab) as a BJP nominee in 2004 and again in 2009. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha from where he resigned shortly afterward. Later, he joined the Congress and was elected as MLA from Amritsar in 2017. He was made a cabinet minister in Capt, Amrinder Singh’s ministry. He fell out with the CM and resigned. He secured a meteoric rise in Congress and became the State Congress President in less than five years in the party. But his eyes were always at the post of CM. When Imran Khan won elections in Pakistan he invited many Indian cricketers, including Sidhu for his oath ceremony as Pak PM. It was only Sidhu who took part in the ceremony. Besides hurling praises on PM Imran, he also hugged Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa who, in India is seen as the perpetrator of proxy war against India and responsible for many killings of innocent citizens in Kashmir as also Indian soldiers and paramilitary men. Sidhu continued to take pride in his friendship with Pak PM. This cost him heavily in his image in India. Since his resigning from BJP and joining Congress Sidhu continued to stress very boldly and proudly that you will find Sidhu where there is the interest of Punjab. Sidhu lost the Amritsar seat as a Congress nominee and the Panjab Congress President to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) nominee. With the Panjab electorate having given a massive majority to AAP, they have clearly given their verdict that Panjab’s interests lie safely in the hands of AAP. What will Sidhu do now? His vociferous declarations that people will find him standing where lay the interests of Punjab, i.e. with AAP. Where will now he be found standing? ***

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