Gujarat Elections 2022

As AAP eyes inroads into Gujarat, Delhi keenly watches the Punjab governance

Political observers say the centre’s interest in the governance performance of the Mann government has resulted in the speculation that former Delhi police commissioner Rakesh Asthana might be sent to the Punjab Raj Bhavan as Governor

As AAP eyes inroads into Gujarat, Delhi keenly watches the Punjab governance
Arvind Kejriwal at a rally in Gujarat (File photo)

New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government is keeping a keen eye on the anti-corruption initiatives taken up by the Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab led by Bhagwant Mann, sources have disclosed. 

“When the Mann government announced its anti-corruption helpline on March 23 with much fanfare, the centre kept a close watch on it and considerable resources were deployed for the exercise,” said a source.

The source added that the central government wanted to know how the helpline was performing with emphasis on knowing about the action that taken against corrupt officials on the basis of complaints received on it.

The helpline (number 9501200200) was launched on the martyrdom day of freedom fighters - Bhagat Singh, Rajguru and Sukhdev - and chief minister Mann called it "an anti-corruption action line".

“On the occasion of Shaheedi Diwas, we are launching an anti-corruption helpline. If someone asks you for bribe, send me its audio/video recording on 9501200200. We will take strict action against the corrupts. Corruption free Punjab will be a true tribute to our freedom fighters,” said CM Mann while launching the helpline. 

In the last week of July, the Punjab government reported that it was receiving around 2,500 complaints against corrupt officials every day on the helpline. 

A report in India Today said the Punjab Vigilance Bureau (which maintains the helpline) has received over 3 lakh complaints via the anti-corruption helpline ever since it was launched.

The report added that among the complaints received, 1,862 were made against state government officials and they entailed 3,751 audio and video pieces of evidence. On the basis of complaints, the vigilance bureau has registered 33 FIRs and arrested 52 accused. 

“It’s not difficult to understand that BJP government at the centre is interested in knowing the fate of anti-corruption helpline of Punjab’s AAP government. AAP is making its presence felt in Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah. The Modi-Shah combine will want BJP to return to power in Gujarat where the party faces huge anti-incumbency due to more than two decade-long rule. Any good governance step taken by AAP government Punjab will strengthen its credentials in Gujarat which goes to polls later this year,” said a central government source. 

AAP supreme leader Arvind Kejariwal is making frequent trips to Gujarat and offering soaps to voters. He has promised free electricity and jobs there and he always reminds Gujarati voters of what his party’s governments are doing in Delhi and Punjab. 

“It would be difficult to ignore AAP in Gujarat. So far it was a fight between BJP and Congress there but now AAP can no longer be side-stepped by both the parties,”added the central government source quoted above.

Political observers say the centre’s interest in the governance performance of the Mann government has resulted in the speculation that former Delhi police commissioner Rakesh Asthana might be sent to the Punjab Raj Bhavan as Governor.