Chandigarh, Jan 20: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has accused Punjab's ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) of recruiting criminals in the ranks of the party's youth and students' wings ahead of the February 4 state assembly elections.
Sangrur MP and AAP campaign committee chairman Bhagwant Mann, in a statement here on Friday, said that Akali leaders have taken the law into their hands and were indulging in unlawful activities with impunity. "The office bearers of SAD were involved in cases ranging from molestation to murder," Mann pointed out.
"Bikram Majithia (Punjab revenue minister and Youth Akali Dal patron) has recruited hundreds of criminals in the youth wing and Students Organisation of India (SOI), a student wing of SAD. Members of YAD and SOI are a threat to peace and communal harmony in the state," Mann said. Pointing out instances of Akali leaders involved in alleged criminal activities, Mann said that a ruling party sarpanch (village headman) has been accused of abetting the suicide of a minor Dalit boy in Bhai Bakhtaur village in Bathinda district.
"The SAD leadership is shielding criminals and absorbing them in the party," Mann said. "SAD leaders involved in criminal activities had full backing of SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal and Youth Akali Dal patron Bikram Singh Majithia," Mann alleged.
He said that an Akali Dal sarpanch had slapped a protesting teacher in a village last year while a YAD office bearer, Ranjit Singh Rana, had killed Assistant Sub Inspector Ravinder Pal Singh in full public view near Amritsar when he tried to protect the dignity of his daughter from Akali goons.
"Akali Dal leader Shiv Lal Doda was involved in the murder of Dalit youth Bhim Tank in Abohar (last year)," the AAP leader said. He added that liquor and drug mafias were being patronised by ruling party leaders.