Prompted by the BJP’s national leadership all the five party ministers and two chief parliamentary secretaries resigned from their positions in the Punjab government in what is being seen as an attempt to limit damage amidst allegations of corruption.
Those who handed in their resignations to the BJP’s Punjab in charge, Mr Shanta Kumar late on Thursday evening include, Mr. Manoranjan Kalia, Mr Tikshan Sud, Ms Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, Master Mohan Lal, Chaudhary Swarna Ram and CPS’s Arunesh Shakir and Sukhpal Singh Nannu. Vidhan Sabha deputy speaker Satpal Gosain, who was widely expected to also quit, was excluded.
Sources said, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has forwarded the resignation letters to Punjab’s governor Shivraj Patil to pave the path for fresh inductions.
Decidedly swift, the action follows the unanimous view of the party’s core group meeting in Delhi (Wednesday) that the party cannot be seen turning a blind eye to the case when it was taking on the Manmohan Singh government on corruption issues.
As many as two BJP ministers in the Punjab government, including the third senior most in the state, industries minister Manoranjan Kalia and social welfare minister Swarna Ram were summoned for questioning by the CBI after their names figured in a bribery scandal.
Earlier, CBI arrested three others for their alleged complicity in receiving `1.5 crore as bribe.
Meanwhile, former chief minister and Congress president Capt. Amarinder Singh described the BJP national leadership’s action as a “gimmick” at trying to be seen as taking a high moral position.
“But the four and a half years of corruption by their ministers is not a gimmick! They have bled Punjab in collaboration with the Akali Dal,” he declared.
He was nonetheless pleased with the exit top BJP men from government. Shukar hai! (Thank goodness!) at least we are rid of those who already stand exposed,” he said adding that he does not expect “any better” from replacements expected to be brought in by the BJP. Asian Age