Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Channi on Monday said his government will not accept the Centre’s decision to expand the BSF’s jurisdiction from existing 15 km from the border to 50 km, as this is “against the spirit of federalism”.
Briefing the media here after the Cabinet meeting, he said that since law and order is a state subject, the Centre cannot impose its decision on Punjab without taking them into confidence.
The state police force is fully competent to handle the law and order situation, he said, citing how it contained the decade-long militancy in the state, restoring the long-lasting peace, harmony and brotherhood.
Slamming SAD President Sukhbir Badal for playing with the religious sentiments of people on the “sensitive issue” of the BSF’s wider deployment, Channi urged him to desist from making “provocative statements” referring to the entry of Central forces to Harmandir Sahib and other religious places.
He also asked the SAD President not to “push Punjab back to the days of militancy by hurting religious sentiments of the people in the guise of the BSF issue, as Akali Dal was solely responsible for having misled the state’s youth to take up the path of militancy”.
In a veiled reference to Sukhbir Badal for his “offensive narrative” on this count, Channi said that “anyone who rakes up such sensitive issues merely for pursuing his vested interests is not only the biggest enemy of Punjab but of the country as well”.
He said the situation now demands that apprehensions in the minds of public on this issue are dispelled, and for this, a special meeting of state Cabinet would be convened soon and if need be, the issue would be thoroughly discussed in an all-party meeting.
In case, the issue is not resolved, a special session of the Assembly would be summoned, Channi added.
The Chief Minister said that the requisite land for the much needed Patti-Makhu rail link would be soon provided to the Centre after acquiring it from the farmers by suitably compensating them.
On the issue of state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu’s letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi about action on 13-point agenda, Channi said that the state government is already working to fulfil the promises made to the people and assured that every single commitment would be fulfilled in letter and spirit.
It is the duty of the state party President to keep the party high command apprised about the matters concerning the state but this does not reflect any palpable differences between the party and the government, he added.