Chandigarh: A video has gone viral on social media showing a minister threatening a government school principal in Nabha.
In the wake of the incident, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday banned the inclusion of names of government functionaries on foundation stones and inaugural plaques.
Singh issued the order after the video showing cabinet minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot threatening with suspension the woman principal of the school, where he had gone to lay a foundation stone.
The minister was apparently upset over his name not being at the top on the inauguration plaque.
The video showing the minister scolding Principal Nishi Jalota in front of the media triggered outrage on social media.
"Should I suspend you (Principal) immediately," Dharamsot could be heard saying in the video.
When Jalota pleaded it was not her fault, the minister said, "Then who is at fault. You are showing me this (plaque). You do not know who is the chief guest."
The plaque mentioned the names of two donors, who had provided financial assistance for the construction of the block, before the minister's name.
Dharamsot, who holds forests, printing and stationery, welfare of SCs and BCs portfolios in the Amarinder Singh-led Congress government, was the special guest on the occasion.
Watch the video here:
The order stated: "While there was no bar on government functionaries and leaders inaugurating or laying the foundation stone of any building or project, the practice of having their names inscribed on such stones or plaques was being discarded with immediate effect, following explicit orders from the Chief Minister."
"The Chief Minister has also urged his ministerial and party colleagues to be humble in dealing with any member of the public. We are in this position today because of the people of the state and it is our duty to treat them with full respect and humility at all times," it said.
"The Chief Minister himself is not excluded from these orders, which are aimed at building a stronger connect between the government and the people by removing the VIP culture barriers," an official spokesperson said here.
Later, the minister, while talking to reporters, denied threatening the principal.
"I did not say this," he said when newspersons asked him about the incident. He expressed suspicions of wrongdoing in the spending of money for the construction of the said block.
"Rs 1.30 crore has been spent on building 15 rooms. I feel something wrong happened here. The number of rooms is less considering the money spent on it," the minister alleged.
Amarinder had, soon after taking over the state's governance and in line with the Congress manifesto promise, given up the symbolic red beacon light on his vehicle as a gesture to show his commitment to shedding the VIP culture.
All cabinet ministers had also followed suit, even though the manifesto had exempted the Chief Minister and the ministers from the red beacon ban ambit.
Amarinder had reiterated this commitment to shrugging off the VIP culture a few days ago when he preferred to queue up for entry, check-in, and boarding at the Chandigarh airport instead of accepting preferential treatment while leaving for a business trip to Mumbai.
(With Agency inputs)