Punjab ministers on Saturday walked out of a pre-cabinet meeting on the excise policy with senior state officials over an ‘unacceptable behaviour' of the chief secretary with one of their colleagues.
The development led to the deferment of the cabinet meeting which was scheduled for Saturday. Now, it will be held on Monday.
Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh had allegedly misbehaved with Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.
Singh had reportedly raised objections to some of his suggestions like including taking control of unsold liquor vends and changes in the excise policy. The chief secretary is said to have found the proposals viable.
Soon after, several ministers objected to the 'unacceptable behaviour', a minister said. Upset over it, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Channi walked out of the meeting. Later, all ministers left, claimed the minister.
The Punjab cabinet was to discuss a revision in the excise policy after poor response from contractors on the opening of liquor vends in the state.
Later, a government release said the cabinet meeting will take place on Monday.
The statement said the ministers of the state government met officials of the Department of Excise and Taxation to deliberate upon suggested changes in the excise policy for 2020-21.
“The discussions were inconclusive. Accordingly, the chief minister asked them to complete their deliberations over the weekend and convey their views in the meeting of the Council of Ministers to be held now on Monday,” said the statement.
Meanwhile, Congress' Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu said the ministers' reaction was similar to a judge walking out of a court after an argument with an advocate. He attacked the ministers, saying they should also resign for “their incompetent behavior”.
“During the coronavirus pandemic, the coordination between the ministers and bureaucrats should be strong. The ministers walking out of the pre-cabinet meeting should resign for their incompetent behavior as many others capable of handling work pressure are ready to replace them,” the Ludhiana MP wrote on Twitter.
(With inputs from PTI)