Drop Harsimrat from union government, demands Congress

Chandigarh : The Congress’ Punjab unit Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to drop union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal from the cabinet following the move of her party, the Shiromani Akali Dal, to protest against the Border Security Force(BSF).

Terming the Akali Dal decision to protest against the BSF as a “secessionist move”, Punjab Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa said that Harsimrat Badal’s husband Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is the Punjab deputy chief minister, home minister and also the Akali Dal president, was issuing anti-national statements against the BSF.

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“Sukhbir Singh Badal, who is husband of Harsimrat Kaur Badal, is issuing secessionist statements and instigating people to protest against BSF at the border,” Bajwa said in a statement here.

The Akali Dal had announced to hold ‘dharnas’ at four places along the India-Pakistan international border in Punjab Jan 5 to protest the BSF “inability” to effectively curb smuggling of drugs into Punjab from the Afghanistan-Pakistan side.

However, drawing flak from various quarters for its move, the Akali Dal Tuesday toned down its action by saying that it will now hold three dharnas (protests) near the international border check points “to create awareness about drugs as well as focus on the need for greater vigilance along the border with Pakistan”.

Bajwa said: “This action of Sukhbir Badal has caused a constitutional crisis because the BSF is under the union home minister and he is the Punjab home minister. This crisis has brought the union and the state government into direct conflict which requires immediate solution by dismissing the Punjab government and dropping Harsimrat Badal before Jan 5.”

Harsimrat Badal is the union food processing minister.

The Congress leader said that the stand taken by Badal and Akali Dal was “seditious” and “anti-national” and was aimed at creating public disorder and inciting people against the BSF.