The Punjab chief minister, in a video on Twitter, said that his statement was bent out of meaning and that it was directed at a few people who were allegedly causing ‘disruption’ in the state
Just days ahead of the state elections, the Congress went into damage control mode over Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s ‘don’t let bhaiyas of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi enter the state‘ remarks.
First, Channi posted a video on Twitter where he clarified that his statement was directed at a few people who were allegedly causing ‘disruption’ in the state. Trying to assuage hurt sentiments, the Punjab chief minister said people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have contributed to the building of Punjab.
My statement was only directed at few individuals causing disruption in the State, but it was twisted. My brothers & sisters from UP & Bihar have contributed towards building Punjab. We have been together for generations & I love & respect all of them like my own family members. pic.twitter.com/CLzpzLqkVr
— Charanjit S Channi (@CHARANJITCHANNI) February 17, 2022
Soon after Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra too spoke up in his defence.
Speaking to ANI, Priyanka said, “All that Chief Minister Charanjit Channi said was that Punjab should be run by Punjabis. His statement was misconstrued. I do not think anyone from Uttar Pradesh is interested in coming to Punjab and rule.”
Further responding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s criticism of Channi’s comment, she said, “BJP has insulted Uttar Pradesh farmers. The way innocent farmers were killed by the son of their minister. The prime minister is visiting Punjab only when elections are near. He did not visit during farmers’ protests. Inflation and unemployment is at a high.”
In a video now circulating on social media Channi can be seen asking people not to let the “bhaiyas” of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Delhi enter the state during a poll rally in Rupnagar on Tuesday. Priyanka can be seen beside Channi clapping when he is making the remarks.
प्रियंका गांधी और पंजाब के मुख्यमंत्री चन्नी ने उड़ाया उत्तर प्रदेश और बिहार के नागरिकों का मजाक। pic.twitter.com/x8JBi6b8zG
— BJYM (@BJYM) February 16, 2022
Soon enough, leaders from across the political spectrum lost no time in slamming Channi. AAP national convener and Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal termed his Punjab counterpart’s comments as “very shameful”. “We strongly condemn the wrong comments made against any individual or any particular community,” he said.
BJP leader Tejasvi Surya shared the video of Channi on Twitter and said, “Priyanka Vadra Ji calls herself a daughter of Uttar Pradesh when she visits the state and claps when people of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are insulted in Punjab. This is her double character and face as well.”
Union minister Smriti Irani on Wednesday called the comments, “nasty and shameful”.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said “This is nonsense. I am appalled at how people can say such things. Does he (Channi) not know how many people from Bihar live there (in Punjab) and how much they have served that land.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi who addressed an election rally in Abohar on Thursday said, “Congress always pits the people of a region against another. Congress CM gave a statement yesterday that received claps from a member of the family in Delhi. Who are they insulting by such statements? There is not one village here where people from UP-Bihar don’t toil.”
BJP leader Amit Malviya on Thursday said, “Channi made really objectionable remarks. But what was more objectionable was that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the UP in-charge of Congress, was laughing and clapping in his company when the people of UP and Bihar were being disrespected. On what basis does Congress think that people in UP should support and vote for them?, as per a report by ANI.
While addressing a rally in Amritsar, defence minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said, “Congress wants to gain power by dividing the society. When he (Channi) was saying this, Priyanka Gandhi was standing there. India is the only country that has not considered not only the people living within its borders as its family, but also the people across the world.”
Biju Janta Dal (BJD) Rajya Sabha MP Prasanna Acharya on Thursday said, “I do not think that statement given by Punjab chief minister fits the Indian tradition and the provision of the Constitution.”
Meanwhile, a complaint was lodged in a court on the day against the Punjab chief minister for his comments.
The petition was filed in the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Muzaffarpur, by social activist Tamanna Hashmi, who has claimed that the comment has “put in danger lives of Biharis living in Punjab.
Hashmi has sought direction to the police for lodging an FIR against Channi under IPC sections 294, 294A, 504 and 511, which pertain to causing deliberate insult to feelings.
With input from agencies
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