Chandigarh: In a move that could further strain the SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab, the saffron outfit on Monday sought resignation of Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia after the Enforcement Directorate served summons on him in connection with the international drug racket case.
BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh urged Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal to follow the precedent of morality set by him and ask Majithia to resign.
"The Chief Minister had himself sought cabinet minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur's resignation on similar grounds and in the same case, and it would not be in the interest of either the Akali Dal or the government to apply different yardsticks to different persons involved in a single case," Chugh said in a statement here.
Making it clear that there was "nothing personal and no ill-will was involved", Chugh said what BJP was suggesting was to protect the image of the government run by the SAD-BJP alliance. The ruling alliance has been going through a rough patch for the past several months.
"All governments which claim morality have been following this precedent... Majithia should have himself offered to resign. He can join the government again as and when he comes clear of the charges...," he said.
In fact, it would have been in tune with the ideology of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has a very clear stand on the issue of drug, he said.
Majithia, brother-in-law of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal and brother of Union Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal, has been summoned by ED to appear before it on December 26 in connection with alleged money laundering in the Rs 6,000-crore drug racket case.
Chugh said his party had been demanding resignation of SAD chief parliamentary secretary Avinash Chander too as it is committed to upholding high moral standards and keep the polity clean and has a firm stand against the drug trade not only on the state level but at national level also.
Slamming state Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa for "politicising" the sensitive issue of drugs for his personal vested interests, Chugh said the Congress should look within before issuing statements on the issue.
"Actually, Bajwa needs to come clear as to how many times and by what means he has asked for the resignation of Congress MP Santokh Singh Chaudhary who too had been summoned by ED in the same case," Chug said.
A political storm brewed in the state yesterday after ED issued summons to Majithia in the multi-crore drug racket case with main opposition seeking his removal and Akalis backing the minister.
Punjab Congress, which had yesterday sought Majithia's resignation, has decided to move a no-confidence motion against the Akali Dal-BJP alliance government in the state during the ongoing Winter Session over the issue.
The announcement to this effect was made by Congress Legislature Party leader Sunil Jakhar today.
Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, however, today ruled out asking Majithia to resign.
Congress leader Jakhar said as it was BJP chief Kamal Sharma who had also raised the demand for his resignation, it was his party that should have moved the no-confidence motion or announced withdrawal of support to the Akali Dal.
He said BJP should not continue in the government following the rejection of Sharma's demand by Badal.
The CLP leader said BJP had been part of the Badal government for the past seven-and-a-half years and as such, could not absolve itself by just raising the demand for the resignation of Majithia.
"The BJP was part and parcel of all acts of omission and commission of the Badal government," he told reporters here after chairing the CLP meeting.
He said if BJP had the moral courage, it should move the no-confidence motion and the Congress would support it.
The no-confidence motion moved by Congress would be a test for the BJP.
In the past too, BJP and SAD in the state had come out in open against each other on several issues, including property tax, fee on Change of Land Use, and sand and gravel prices.