CHANDIGARH: Under fire from the opposition over giving jobs to sons of two Congress MLAs, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday defended his government's decision, saying it was a recognition of the sacrifices made by their grandfathers, who laid down their lives for the country.
The Punjab cabinet on Friday decided to appoint Arjun Pratap Singh Bajwa as an inspector in the Punjab Police and Bhisham Pandey as a naib tehsildar in the state's Revenue Department as a "special case" on "compassionate" ground.
Arjun Pratap Singh Bajwa is the son of Qadian MLA Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa while Ludhiana legislator Rakesh Pandey is the father of Bhisham Pandey.
Arjun Bajwa is the grandson of former Punjab Minister Satnam Singh Bajwa, who laid his life in 1987 for the sake of peace and harmony in the state while Bhisham Pandey is the grandson of Joginder Pal Pandey who was gunned down by terrorists in 1987, the government had said on Friday.
The chief minister on Saturday said those who make a sacrifice for the nation can, and should, never be forgotten.
Their families deserve to be compensated for the loss, he further said while informally interacting with media persons outside the residence of Milkha Singh, where he had gone to pay his last respects to the legendary athlete.
Taking a swipe at the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which have criticised the government's move, the chief minister said if these parties provide names of any youth whose father/grandfathers have made similar sacrifices for the nation, they will also be provided jobs in the state government.
The chief minister said he had tried to find such people in these parties but could find none, he said.
He asserted that he would give jobs to anyone coming from a family that had made similar sacrifices.
The chief minister pointed out that Punjab had been through tough times in the dark days of terrorism, when 35,000 innocent lives had been lost to senseless violence.
As many as 1,700 police personnel had also died, he recalled, adding that it was not sufficient to pay tributes to these people at their memorials, and the state needed to do something more to compensate their families.
"We cannot allow their sacrifices to go waste," said the chief minister, adding that Punjab salutes those who have shed blood for the country, and his government will continue to recognise their contribution to the state's peace and harmony.
Meanwhile, the SAD urged the Punjab governor to dismiss the Congress government by taking suo motu notice of the manner in which the chief minister was allegedly "purchasing" the loyalty of Congress legislators to "save his chair by doling out jobs to their wards illegally.
" SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia also asked the youth whose rights had been "usurped" by Congress leaders to 'gherao' the chief minister and ministers to demand jobs for deserving and meritorious students.
He said in case the governor did not take action in the matter, the president should take note of the "unconstitutional" appointments and dismiss the Amarinder Singh government immediately.
He said the SAD-BSP alliance would quash all "illegal" appointments made on compassionate grounds and also register cases against those responsible for the wrongdoing, once voted to power.
Majithia said it is condemnable that Amarinder Singh had taken an oath to provide jobs to each and every household and even got forms filled by the youth in this regard.
"However jobs have only been given to 'crorepati' Congressmen be it the family of former chief minister Beant Singh whose grandson was recruited as a DSP, wards of Congress MLAs Fateh Jung Bajwa and Rakesh Pandey," he alleged.
The SAD leader said both the candidates were "not eligible" for jobs under compassionate grounds.