New Delhi: Shiromani Akali Dal chief Sukhbir Singh Badal was detained this afternoon as he staged a huge protest outside Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s home in Mohali, demanding the sacking of Balbir Singh Sidhu, the state’s Health Minister.
The BSP’s Punjab president Jasvir Singh Garhi also joined the massive demonstration, days after the two parties forged an alliance for the state elections due next year.
High political drama unfolded as hundreds of protesters – carrying party flags – marched together despite heavy police barricading. Water cannons were also used on demonstrators. Former Punjab minister and Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia was also detained.
— Sukhbir Singh Badal (@officeofssbadal) June 15, 2021
The 58-year-old Akali Dal chief has sought a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the sale of vaccines and procurement of medical kits for COVID-19 patients.
The opposition is targeting the Amarinder Singh led-government over various issues just months ahead of the assembly polls.
On Saturday, Mayawati said the alliance between her party and the SAD, a former BJP ally, will “start a new chapter” in the state’s politics as the two parties joined hands after 27 years. Attacking Amarinder Singh, she said, “While most people are suffering due to the corrupt rule of the Congress, women, Dalits and farmers are the worst-hit. To free all of them, it’s important to make this alliance a success.”
The Akali Dal broke ties with the BJP last year over the contentious farm laws, which led to massive protests. The BSP will contest the seats earlier assigned to the BJP.
Sukhbir Badal has been relentlessly attacking the state government.
Earlier this month, he demanded a high court probe into the “diversion of vaccines to private players at hefty margins to create artificial shortage”, calling it a “scam”.
Later, Punjab government withdrew an order providing “one-time limited vaccine doses to 18-44 age group population through private hospitals”.
The protests also come at a time when the Congress is handling infighting in the state. A panel last week recommended that Navjot Singh Sidhu, Amarinder Singh’s challenger, should be suitably accommodated even though Captain Singh should continue to lead.