Letter to Subodh C. Aggarwal - 18/11/2009

Shri Subodh C. Aggarwal
Chief Secretary
Mini Sectretriat

18 November 2009

Subject -Breach of Protocol


I am sorry to bring to your notice the brazen breach of protocol by the state government during the official visit of the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr Stephen Harper to the Golden Temple in Amritsar today, November 18, 2009.

My party and I are surprised that Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, the leader of the Opposition in the Punjab Assembly was not invited to the function which was hosted by the state government. The lapse is quite unacceptable, and those responsible need to be brought to book.

I fear this breach of both protocol and precedent only reflects the partisan mindset with which the state government is working. Otherwise how can one explain or justify the absence of the leader of the opposition, who represents almost as many people as the coalition partners in the government. It must have conveyed a poor impression to the visiting Canadian Prime Minister.

Unfortunately, it seems ministers and officials believe themselves to be the workers of the Akali Dal more than representatives and servants of the masses, irrespective of party affiliations or inclinations.

This breach of protocol must have painted a dark picture of state politics to Prime Minister Harper, especially as head of a country where Punjabis have huge stakes and are such an important part of the community.

Whenever any foreign dignitary visits India, the central government ensures that leaders of all key political parties are invited and participate on equal terms. Nobody represents a particular political party on these occasions, but the whole nation. Similarly, the presence of Ms Bhattal at the function would have added to the grace and dignity of the state because she would have been there as the representative of the people of Punjab and not just the Congress party.

Yours sincerely,
Jassi Khangura,
MLA Halqa Qila Raipur, Ludhiana.

Copy to:

1. Chief Minister Punjab

2. High Commissioner of Canada in India

3. Prime Minister's Visit Coordinator of the Canadian High Commission, New Delhi

4. Deputy Chief Minister Punjab

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