Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi dialled Congress chief Sonia Gandhi today amid the huge controversy over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security lapse. Sources said he has briefed Mrs Gandhi on the evolving situation.
For Mr Channi — who was unexpectedly elevated to power in September after his predecessor Amarinder Singh quit the party — it is a huge crisis.
After yesterday’s incident, when visuals of the Prime Minister’s cavalcade stuck on a flyover in Bathinda took the nation by surprise, Mr Channi had said he would ” lay down my life to protect the PM”. Then he had amended — “But there was no danger to his life. There was no security breach”.
The Congress has since found itself enmeshed in a major political tussle with the BJP, which has accused the party of having “murderous intent” towards the Prime Minister. The event, it said, was engineered with the collaboration of the state police and the protesting farmers.
Mr Channi has been accused of not attending to SOS calls.
His government has been accused of not prepping an alternative route even with intelligence about a farmers’ protest in the area. It is also the job of the state police to sanitise a VIP’s route and check for threats.
The Congress had so far questioned the sudden change in the Prime Minister’s schedule, alleging that in a breach of protocol, the change was made without the knowledge of the state police.
The BJP has released what it says are “internal memos” of the Punjab Police, claiming they talk of last-minute changes due to bad weather and mentions that “farmers are likely to hold dharnas… may result in roadblocks… please make necessary diversion plans”.
The state government has found itself at a further disadvantage as the matter reached the Supreme Court, with a petition calling for the dismissal of the state’s home minister and the police chief.
The Supreme Court has said that it would hear the matter tomorrow.