Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has been attacked by opposition parties after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met senior officials of the Punjab State Power Corporation earlier this week.
The opposition parties alleged the meeting in Delhi confirmed their suspicion Kejriwal, as AAP chief, was running affairs in Punjab. They pointed to the fact Mann was absent during the meeting. Former chief minister Amarinder Singh had alleged Arvind Kejriwal had “taken over Punjab much before it was expected to happen” and Mann is a “rubber stamp”.
On Thursday, Mann rejected the criticism strongly. Mann was quoted by The Times of India as telling reporters “They [officers] were sent there for training. If required, I shall again send my officers to Delhi or to other states like Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu or wherever we feel there is something good to see and learn. If I feel like, I can send them to Israel also...”
He argued “They (Delhi government) are specialists in education, power, health. Why shouldn't I send the officers?” NDTV reported.
Mann dismissed talk of him being sidelined by Kejriwal. “Who is the opposition? Where is the opposition? Don't criticise for the sake of criticising. It was I who sent the officers to Delhi, for training. They can go anywhere to learn good things? I allowed it,” Mann was quoted as saying by NDTV.
Despite Mann's spirited defence of the meeting, the Congress was not impressed. Congress MLA from Bholath Sukhpal Singh Khaira tweeted Mann's response was on the “instructions” of Kejriwal. Khaira tweeted, “This is not only a belated after thought cover up by @BhagwantMann but definitely on instructions from @ArvindKejriwal who felt the opposition heat for summoning Pb officers directly to Delhi. All we want is that our Cm shouldn’t be a dummy & remote controlled.”