Barely three months into holding reins of power in Punjab, not only has the administrative ability of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann come under scrutiny, but more worryingly for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the killing of popular singer Sidhu Moose Wala seems to have triggered a political storm galvanising a united Opposition.
The BJP, which is trying to find a foothold in the political arena of the state, was quick to pounce on the issue of the law-and-order situation in the state post the killing, demanding a probe into not just the attack on Moose Wala but also reduction of the security cover to the singer. The party has also sought an inquiry into how the confidential report on reducing the security cover to 424 VIPs was leaked to the media.
The party met Punjab Governor Banwarlal Purohit and has also sought the appointment of Union home Minister Amit Shah to look into what they termed as the collapse of law-and-order situation in Punjab. State unit president Ashwini Sharma said: “The AAP government is on a publicity drive. From the time they have taken the reins, there has been a total collapse of law-and-order in the state and instead of taking cognisance of that, the government is only bothered with making announcements.”
Senior Punjab leader Sunil Jakhar, who was recently inducted into the BJP, said: “If the Punjab government was aware that he was receiving threat calls from gangsters, why was his security trimmed? And even if it was trimmed, who made such confidential information public and leaked it to the media.” He added that some heads need to roll.
The Congress, which has decided to take out a peace protest in Mansa in Moose Wala’s hometown, met the singer’s parents. Led by its state chief Raja Warring, the Congress is also scheduled to meet the governor and Amit Shah to submit details of all the murders as well as incidents such as the RPG attack that have taken place since AAP came to power.
SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said that a mother has lost her son and the state government was indulging in gaining brownie points. “Who advised about trimming the security of such people who were facing threat perception,” he asked, adding that the PR machinery of the government was more desperate to dish out publicity material rather than focus on governance.
Congress leader Manish Tewari said it was “obvious that somebody is trying to test the red line of the new government”. “There have been a series of unfortunate incidents… it’s obvious that gangsters also became emboldened… want to request Bhagwant Mann… there is need to bring all state powers together to ensure law and order is not disturbed… this is not a political issue… would like to request CM Bhagwant Mann to take police into confidence.”
Navjot Singh Sidhu too said he had warned the government of the consequences of the step. His team took to Twitter to say: “From Team Navjot Singh Sidhu: Addressing media on 6 May, advised #AAP Govt & CM @BhagwantMann to not to politicise police by taking back security for mere publicity stunts & warned of serious consequences it would entail. We wish CM had listened… Rest in Peace #sidhumoosewala”
Sidhu Moose Wala’s father was following him in a car with two armed personnel when his killers rained bullets on the 28-year-old singer and his two friends.
The Punjabi singer had been getting ransom calls from gangsters for a while — including the Lawrence Bishnoi gang — his father Balkaur Singh has said in his complaint to the police.
CCTV footage has emerged on social media which shows two cars trailing Sidhu Moose Wala’s vehicle moments before he was shot dead in Mansa.
Canada-based gangster Goldy Brar reportedly claimed responsibility for Moose Wala’s murder in a Facebook post on Sunday evening. Goldy Brar is a close aide of gang leader Lawrence Bishnoi, who is also said to be involved in the singer’s murder.
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