The Punjab cabinet's decision to give two state government jobs to the sons of Congress MLAs has triggered fresh trouble for Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Sunil Jakhar, the Punjab Congress chief, and two MLAs have demanded that the "ill-advised" move be rolled back. However, Mr Singh, already battling dissent in the state unit, has refused to scrap the decision, saying it is a "small token of gratitude and compensation for the sacrifices of their families".
The Punjab government decided on Friday that the sons of Congress MLAs Arjun Pratap Singh Bajwa and Bhisham Pandey will be appointed as a police inspector and a naib tehsildar as their grandfathers had been murdered by terrorists.
"No question of rescinding Punjab Cabinet decision on jobs for sons of 2 Congress MLAs. It is just a small token of gratitude and compensation for the sacrifices of their families. It's shameful that some people are giving political colour to this decision," Mr Singh was quoted as saying by his media adviser Raveen Thukral.
'No question of rescinding #PunjabCabinet decision on jobs for sons of 2 @INCPunjab MLAs. It is just a small token of gratitude & compensation for the sacrifices of their families. It's shameful that some people are giving political colour to this decision.': @capt_amarinderpic.twitter.com/a83yIIM887— Raveen Thukral (@RT_MediaAdvPbCM) June 19, 2021
Reacting to the move, Mr Jakhar on Saturday said the decision was against the "ethos and culture of neutrality".
"Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh Ji must reverse the ill-advised decision...The decision is also against the ethos and culture of neutrality followed by Amarinder Singh and the Congress party as a whole," Mr Jakhar was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Congress MLA Kuljit Nagra said the decision should be reversed by the state cabinet. Another MLA, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, appealed to Mr Bajwa and Mr Pandey not to accept the jobs for their sons.
The Shiromani Akali Dal has alleged the decision is an attempt to "purchase" the loyalty of the Congress MLAs to "save his chair".
Mr Singh has been holding meetings with MLAs and MPs over the past few days to try and tackle dissent ahead of the Punjab election next year.
Earlier this month, the Congress had called its Punjab MLAs and MPs to Delhi to iron out the rift in the state unit.
A party panel has suggested that Navjot Sidhu - Mr Singh's bitter critic - must be pacified with a larger role.
With inputs from PTI