Bittu was never a Congressman, but was always a SAD & Sukhbir loyalist: Capt Amarinder

Chandigarh, December 9

In a scathing counter-offensive to Sukhbir Badal’s pathetic attempt to wriggle out of the controversy over his alleged links with gangster Harjinder Singh Bittu Sarpanch, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said Bittu was never a Congressman and had always been an Akali leader working for their party and having close ties with Badal Junior.

The Akalis had reportedly tried to infiltrate many of their loyalists into the Congress ahead of the 2017 Assembly elections and Bittu was one of them, said Captain Amarinder.

The fact was that Bittu was never formally inducted into the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), nor did he ever work for the party, said the Chief Minister, asserting that the gangster had been a sitting Sarpanch of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) during the pre-election period.

A close aide of Sukhbir Badal, Bittu had been part of a group of 32 sitting and former Sarpanches, Municipal Councilors, Zila Parishad members etc., belonging to the SAD, who had expressed a desire to join the Congress during his visit to Talwandi Sabo town in 2017, said the Chief Minister. He had gone to the town as part of the poll campaign in favour of Khusbaaz Jattana, the Congress candidate, he added.

Even the picture being touted by Sukhbir as evidence of the Congress association with Bittu, , merely showed a large group of Akali leaders and members raising their hands in support of Jattana, pointed out the Chief Minister. Bittu was, in fact, appointed SAD Senior Vice President in 2013-14 and had been an Akali leader till the time of the Assembly polls, he added.

Captain Amarinder further said that soon after the picture  being flaunted by Sukhbir was clicked, Jattana found out about the criminal record and background of Bittu and he refused to induct the gangster into the Congress. Jattana then immediately disassociated himself from Bittu, who was never brought into the party nor considered for any elected or party post in the Congress.

The Congress subsequently discovered that the SAD had tried to infiltrate many of its loyalists into the PPCC and it appeared that Bittu was one of them, said the Chief Minister.

Bittu was always a hardcore Akali loyalist who had no role or association with the Congress at any point in time, except for the photo opportunity that was apparently created by SAD to undermine the popularity of the PPCC, Captain Amarinder added.

The inquiry by the DGP into politician-gangster nexus, said the Chief Minister, would expose the nefarious designs of the Akalis, led by their top leadership, including the Badal clan. That Sukhbir had to resort to such petty tactics to try and find a way out of the mess he finds himself in shows the depth of his desperation, said Captain Amarinder.

The Chief Minister reiterated that he would ensure that anyone found guilty of any association with gangsters and criminals in Punjab is punished under the law. The safety and security of the people of the state was paramount and nobody could get away with compromising or threatening the same, he added.

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