Ex-minister complains to DC over AAP halqa in-charge’s interference


Ravi Dhaliwal

Gurdaspur, May 23

Former Cabinet minister Aruna Chaudhury’s written complaint to the Gurdaspur Deputy Commissioner (DC) Himanshu Aggarwal against meddling in government departments by the Dinanagar AAP Halqa in-charge is actually an integral part of a larger malady inflicting the democratic set-up of the area.

Halqa in-charge is a euphemism given to AAP politicians who are ruling over the same set of people that had actually rejected them in the 2022 assembly polls.

Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has repeatedly claimed at different forums “that such a system does not exist.”

Chaudhury’s objection is symptomatic of the political chicanery being played out in at least four more seats of this district where ‘selected’ leaders are taking precedence over the elected.

Out of a total of seven assembly seats, the writ of these defeated leaders runs large in five seats. All these five seats are officially represented by Congress MLAs. But administrators are not too keen to take their calls. “Instead, they bend backwards to listen to these Halqa in-charges,” said an ex-Congress minister.

These leaders hold sway over seats which are officially represented by Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa, ex-Dy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, ex-ministers Aruna Chaudhury and Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa and MLA Barindermeet Singh Pahra.

In her latest petition to the DC, Aruna Chaudhury has claimed that Shamsher Singh, the Dinanagar Halqa in-charge, was regularly inspecting government schools. “It is a mockery of democratic norms to allow a person, who is not even a panchayat member, to oversee the working of government institutions,” she remarked.

When questioned about his locus standi, Shamsher Singh said, “I had bagged more than 50,000 votes in the elections and hence have every right to supervise the working of government departments.”

He, however, conveniently forgot that Chaudhury had bagged more votes than him by virtue of which she had been elected an MLA.

For obvious reasons, officials are not willing to comment on the Halqa in-charge mechanism. “Everybody knows that a wrong is being committed. But fearing repercussions, nobody is willing to rectify that wrong,” said a senior officer.