Punjab Congress on Wednesday suspended MLA Kulbir Singh Zira from the party on the charge of indiscipline, days after he publicly vent his unhappiness over alleged inaction of authorities to check illicit liquor trade. Announcing the decision, Punjab Congress Chief Sunil Jakhar said the party high command has taken a very serious view of Zira's action and if he had any grievance, he could have taken it up with the chief minister or the police chief.
The Congress was left red-faced after the public outburst of the MLA from Zira at a district-level function to administer an oath to the newly elected Sarpanches (village heads) and Panches in Ferozepur. Zira had boycotted the January 12 function alleging that "no action" was being taken against some contractors who were selling illicit liquor in Ferozepur. He had also accused a few police officers including one of an IG rank of being in cahoots with some liquor contractors in the illegal trade.
"Kulbir Singh Zira has been suspended from the primary membership for violating the party discipline. "Party high command has taken a very serious view of (Zira's act). It is gross indiscipline and undermining the efforts of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder in terms of containing drugs," Jakhar told reporters here.
"Every legislator has the right to speak. If he had any grievance, he could have taken up with the CM or DGP any time. He violated the discipline by raising the matter at a public function. No indiscipline in the party will be tolerated," he said. The state unit had earlier issued a show cause notice to the legislator. After his suspension, Zira said, "I welcome the party's decision. I am a loyal soldier of the party. I had raised voice against illicit liquor trade issue." The MLA said that in his reply to the show cause notice he had said he would continue to raise voice against corrupt officers.
(With inputs from agencies.)