CM Amarinder Singh
CM Amarinder Singh

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday rejected Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa’s contention that there was no comparison between the present scholarship scam and the 15-year-old bitumen scam, asserting that “corruption is corruption, in any and every form.”

 The Bitumen scam allegations against Bajwa, then PWD minister in his cabinet in his previous term, were as serious as those being levelled now in the scholarship scam, said Captain Amarinder.

The Chief Minister said had he chosen to behave as irresponsibly then as Bajwa was expecting him to do now, he would have sacked the then minister all those years ago based on unsubstantiated charges without a fair probe.

Captain Amarinder slammed Rajya Sabha MP Shamsher Singh Dullo for supporting the demand for a CBI probe into the alleged scholarship scam without waiting for the findings of the CS inquiry.

He also trashed the Aam Aadmi Party’s ‘rejection’ of the Chief Secretary inquiry into the matter, terming it absurd and irrational.

“Who are they to accept or reject anything?” he asked, adding that AAP itself had been rejected by the people of Punjab a long time back.

Asserting that he neither cared nor was interested in an endorsement of his actions by AAP, or any other party for that matter, the Chief Minister said his only concern was the people of his state. “It is they who have to accept or reject me and my actions. Nothing else matters,” he said. Pointing out that the AAP statement on the issue had merely echoed the reaction of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), as had happened during the recent hooch tragedy too, Captain Amarinder quipped “since you seem to be on the same plane why don’t you join the BJP-SAD combine?” “Perhaps together you might be able to put up at least a semblance of fight against the Congress in the 2022 Assembly elections,” he further remarked.

The Chief Minister also took a dig at AAP’s claim of being a party born out of a ‘mass movement against corruption’, saying they had already shown their true colours in Delhi. “Your (AAP) Chief Minister in Delhi is facing criticism from various quarters for failing to stand up to the BJP-led central government on various critical issues,” he said, adding that Arvind Kejriwal had even been accused of toeing the BJP’s line after winning the Delhi polls on an anti-BJP plank. The people of Punjab neither need nor want such an unprincipled party that has no morality or integrity, he added.