New Headache for Channi as Son’s Presence at Official Meet Sparks Row, BJP Slams ‘Unethical’ Practice

New Headache for Channi as Son’s Presence at Official Meet Sparks Row, BJP Slams ‘Unethical’ Practice
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Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s son’s presence in an official meeting has stirred up a fresh controversy in the state on Thursday. The visuals from the event have gone viral on social media, drawing widespread criticism.

Channi’s son Rhythmjit Singh was seen sitting in a law and order meeting with the Punjab Director General of Police and other senior officials and ministers.

ALSO READ | ‘Sort it Out’: Punjab CM Channi Meets PM, But Gets No Audience With Congress Top Brass

The Bharatiya Janata Party tore into the Punjab Chief Minister for the “unethical” incident. BJP Punjab president Ashwani Sharma dubbed it “unprecedented and unethical” and said, “Channi is well aware of the rules as he is a three-time MLA. Credibility, and dignity while respecting the rules of the Constitution should always be maintained. It is unfortunate that senior bureaucrats, well aware of rules and norms, allowed.”

Among the ministers who attended the meeting was Pargat Singh, who has been allotted the Ministries of Education, Sports and NRIs Affairs.

Any member from the Chief Minister’s or other minister’s family cannot be present at official meetings and if the case is otherwise then it is in contravention of the Rules of the Business of the state government.

Retired bureaucrats told The Times of India that the incident amounts to violation of provisions of the Official Secrets Act as several sensitive issues, “which the CM or minister is bound to keep secret, are discussed at such meetings”.

“This is an unusual practice and not expected from a person holding such a high position. The bureaucrats posted to the CMO should have informed him about this. The presence of an unauthorised or a private person at such meetings is against the interest of the state. It is also against the oath taken by the CM,” the experts added.

Meanwhile, Channi met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday and was slated to meet senior Congress leaders amid the ongoing tumult in the party’s Punjab unit, during his first visit to the national capital after taking oath. He, however, went directly to the airport from his ‘very positive’ meeting at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg in Delhi.

According to top sources in the party, the Congress high command has now told Chaani “to sort it out at the state level”. Additionally, Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat is also being sent to Chandigarh before the cabinet meeting on Monday, they said.

Channi rushed to Delhi a day after he held hectic parleys with a disgruntled Navjot Singh Sidhu who finally relented and reportedly agreed to continue as the Punjab Congress chief after he was assured that a coordination panel, comprising both him and Channi will be set up to oversee all major decisions by the Punjab government in future. The decision was reached after an over two-hour meeting at the Punjab Congress Bhavan. Sidhu had resigned from the post of the state party chief on Tuesday.

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