APS Deol’s resignation as Advocate-General has been accepted by Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Channi, fulfilling another of Navjot Sidhu’s demands ahead of next year’s election.
“The Punjab government has accepted Advocate-General APS Deol’s resignation,” Mr Channi told reporters this evening, flanked by Mr Sidhu.
He stated that the vacancy would be filled by tomorrow.
This comes after the Chief Minister appeared to support Mr Deol a few days ago.
A list of successors for the office of Punjab Director-General of Police, which is now held by Iqbal Singh Sahota, has also been forwarded to the centre, according to Chief Minister Channi.
Mr Sidhu demanded that Mr Deol and Mr Sahota, who were both appointed by Chief Minister Channi, be fired as a result of the 2015 sacrilege and police firing case.
Iqbal Sahota was the head of one of the SITs formed by the then Akali Dal government, which Mr Sidhu has blamed for failing to ensure justice. APS Deol had represented two accused cops, and Iqbal Sahota was the head of one of the SITs formed by the then Akali Dal government, which Mr Sidhu has blamed for failing to ensure justice.
Mr Sidhu, whose feud with Amarinder Singh prompted him to resign as Chief Minister and the Congress, had made his sentiments known, even resigning as Punjab Congress chief.
His resignation stunned the Congress, especially because the Gandhis had backed him in his bitter feud with Mr Singh, prompting the still-powerful ex-Chief Minister to resign and form his own political party, something that will undoubtedly worry the Congress ahead of the election.
Chief Minister Channi appointed Mr Deol as the Punjab government’s top lawyer after his predecessor, Atul Nanda, resigned following Amarinder Singh’s resignation.
Mr Channi initially refused Mr Deol’s offer of resignation, sources told NDTV, a move seen as a signal that the Chief Minister, not the MLA, was in charge.
Today’s U-turn, on the other hand, appears to confirm Mr Sidhu’s ability to get his way when it comes to party choices, and emphasises that the power balance between the Chief Minister and the party’s state chairman would likely play a key role in the Congress’ re-election prospects.
Mr Deol also chastised Mr Sidhu for “repeated utterances (that) seek to disrupt the state’s genuine efforts to ensure justice in the ‘drugs affair’ and the’sacrilege cases'” last week.
He also accused Mr Sidhu of “spreading falsehoods to gain a political edge over colleagues” ahead of next year’s election, given his assaults on his own government.
“There is a coordinated effort by entrenched interests to tarnish the functioning of the Congress party in view of the upcoming elections in Punjab for their selfish political advantage,” Mr Deol wrote.
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