Atmosphere of fear in Punjab: State BJP chief after meeting governor

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Chandigarh, Jul 8 (PTI) There is an "atmosphere of fear" in Punjab as the law and order has "collapsed", state BJP chief Sunil Jakhar said on Monday after meeting Governor Banwarilal Purohit here.

Jakhar, accompanied by Union minister Ravneet Singh Bittu, met Purohit to convey concerns over the "dwindling" law and order situation across the state, alleging that it was due to the AAP government's "defunct" approach towards governance.

Jakhar highlighted the attack on Shiv Sena (Punjab) leader Sandeep Thapar in Ludhiana, the death of a man after he was attacked with sharp-edged weapons in Bathinda, and four fatalities in a firing incident between two groups in Batala.

Speaking to the media after meeting the governor, Jakhar said there was an "atmosphere of fear" in Punjab.

"See, what happened in Ludhiana, Maur Mandi (Bathinda) and Batala... The government has absolutely failed in maintaining law and order," Jakhar said.

Calling it a courtesy meeting, Jakhar said he discussed the law and order situation with the governor.

"Today, the law and order situation is worrisome and he (the governor) also acknowledged it," claimed Jakhar.

As the campaigning for July 10 Jalandhar West assembly bypoll ended on Monday, the Punjab BJP president appealed to voters to cast their votes in unison to reject the "talibani atmosphere" of violence, daylight robberies, ransom calls unleashed on Punjab by an "inefficient and inept" state government.

In the last two and half years, the chief minister has succeeded in "tarnishing" Punjab's cherished culture of social harmony and brotherhood amongst communities, Jakhar alleged cautioning the electorate to remember the recent brutal incidents of daylight attacks in Ludhiana and Bathinda.

Earlier, Jakhar in a video message said that the entire Punjab was "feeling unsafe".

"Those who are sitting at homes are also not feeling safe," he said while referring to snatching and theft incidents.

Reminding voters about the "atmosphere of fear" and "insecurity" created by AAP's "apathy" towards governance in a border state like Punjab, Jakhar asked voters to reject policies of the Bhagwant Mann government by casting their votes against this dispensation.

Vote for the BJP as it is the only party which can ensure Punjab's march towards progress with a decisive and strong leadership, said Jakhar.

The Jalandhar West assembly seat fell vacant following the resignation of sitting AAP MLA Sheetal Angural. The bypoll will be held on July 10 and votes counted on July 13.

Later, speaking to reporters, Union minister Bittu also expressed concern over the law and order situation.

Referring to the Ludhiana and Batala incidents, Bittu said, "What is happening? Why the government machinery has failed." He slammed CM Mann for being "busy" in the Jalandhar West assembly bypoll.

Bittu said he shared with the governor his concerns about the law and order situation and claimed that Purohit was equally worried about it.

"I asked the governor that in the coming days, he should speak to the CM and give a report to the Home Ministry," he said.

The Union minister claimed that no new industry was ready to invest in Punjab and industrialists were shifting to other states.

Meanwhile, AAP MP Malvinder Kang slammed the Congress and the BJP, alleging that their previous governments "patronised" gangsters in Punjab.

During the BJP-Akali and Congress governments, gangsters were given government protection in Punjab. The Mann government is continuously taking action against them," said Kang. PTI CHS KVK KVK

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