Chandigarh: AAP’s Punjab Campaign Committee chairman and MP from Sangrur Bhagwant Mann, who has remained in the news in the past as well for his unconfirmed liking for liquor and some controversial statements, courted yet another controversy on Tuesday.
An apparently over-enthusiased leader of the AAP, while interacting with media persons on the sidelines of the Tohra family’s joining here, went on comparing the Blue Card holders with beggars, though indirectly.
Undoubtedly, he was quick to clarify his statement on being pointed out by media but it was shocking for even his own partymen accompanying him on the occasion when he said: “The way state government is distributing the utensils and Atta-Dal to blue card holders it makes me feel that such cards are the “Beggars’ Cards.”
As the media persons objected to his comment while reminding him that he was terming the underprivileged people, who are the beneficiaries of the state’s pro-people scheme, as the beggars, Mann said: “Please don’t take me otherwise. I want to say that the government should provide them with jobs so that they may earn their livelihood rather than looking upto the state for Atta-Dal and utensils as no one in Punjab likes to be treated as a beggar for the basic needs.”
Interestingly, after realising his gaffe, Mann opted not to take the media queries and hurriedly left the conference hall in his SUV. He was heard denying taking questions of TV channels with a mention: “I know what you will ask so better let me leave now.”
On the other hand, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) was quick to grab the opportunity to score on the rival.
SAD General Secretary and spokesperson Harcharan Singh Bains, in a statement, expressed shock and disbelief over the statement of the AAP leader Bhagwant Mann. While explaining the things in his own way, Bains said that the government’s help and facilities to the poor and Dalits were reducing them to the status of beggars. “This statement, coming on the heels of Arvind Kejriwal’s opposition to the reservation for Dalits, SC, STs and backward classes shows that AAP is stricken by high caste cancer,” said the SAD spokesman.
Speaking further, he said: “This man is drunk on high caste arrogance and desperately needs to be sent to some rehabilitation centre for cure of casteist intoxication. He doesn’t realise that it is the duty of every government to stand by every needy and poor person, especially those who are historically disadvantaged.”
“The government is a trustee of people’s money for the people. People don’t become beggars by receiving help and facilities out of their own money. We are shocked at the mindset of the AAP high-ups,” said Bains.
He declared that all pro-poor policies of the government would not only continue but would even be enhanced according to requirement despite AAP’s opposition to it. “We are not going to be deterred by someone intoxicated with high caste attitude of looking down upon those who need and deserve help,” he announced.
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