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After Opposition parties, Congress’ own MLAs have turned on the party-led Punjab government over the appointment of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa’s son-in-law as Additional Advocate General.

As per a notification issued on Monday, advocate Tarun Vir Singh Lehal has been appointed Additional Advocate General in the office of the Advocate General of Punjab on contractual basis till March 31, subject to renewal on an annual basis.

A day after, Congress MLA from Qadian Fateh Jung Bajwa has sought Randhawa’s resignation on moral grounds, daring him to quit “if he is a true Congressman”. Bajwa has also sought the intervention of the party’s senior leadership, including Rahul Gandhi and Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, as well as demanded the removal of Lehal from the post. The Qadian MLA alleged that the crucial appointment at the end of the government’s tenure is not ethical and could become a major election issue early next year.

A similar situation had played out in Punjab a few months ago when Bajwa’s son Arjun was offered a government job on compassionate grounds. It was Randhawa who had objected then.

“They had raised a hue and cry, and called it nepotism. He (Randhawa) now owes an explanation to the people of Punjab,” said Bajwa, adding that Sidhu has been “rightly questioning” party leaders who “instead of serving the people of Punjab are serving their own families”.

Bajwa’s son was given a job in Punjab Police, following which the then ministers Sukhjinder Randhawa, Tript Bajwa, Sukhbinder Sarkari, Charanjit Channi, and Razia Sultana besides Sunil Jakhar raised objections and asked Bajwa to not accept the government offer. Channi is now the Chief Minister having taken over from Amarinder Singh in September following an intense power struggle in the party.

Lehal’s appointment comes just days after Sidhu had raised objections on key government appointments, including that of Advocate General APS Deol. He has been consistently targeting ministers as well as Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, alleging that they lack the “political will” to take action against those accused in the 2015 sacrilege and police firing cases.

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