Punjab Advocate-General APS Deol quits after row over his appointment
Punjab's Advocate-General APS Deol resigned on Monday barely one month after his appointment to the post. His appointment was seen as controversial, criticized both by leaders of the ruling Congress and the Opposition parties. Notably, Deol had once defended two accused police officers in the politically-sensitive sacrilege and police firing case. Here are more details on this.
Why does it matter?
- The reversal of Deol's appointment may be seen as another attempt of truce between Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and State Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
- Sidhu had opposed the senior advocate's appointment along with that of Iqbal Singh Sahota, the new Director-General of Police (DGP) of Punjab.
- There have been several meetings between Channi and the Congress leadership in recent weeks.
Deol was appointed after Captain's exit
Deol was appointed as the AG after the post fell vacant following Atul Nanda's resignation. Nanda's exit came soon after Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down as Chief Minister in September. Days later, Sidhu also quit as the Punjab Congress chief over the contentious appointments. He has since decided to stay on. CM Channi had, however, defended Deol's appointment.
Why was the appointment controversial?
Deol had represented former Punjab top cop Sumedh Singh Saini and Inspector General Paramraj Singh Umaranangal in cases related to alleged sacrilege and subsequent police firing on protesters. The incidents had taken place in Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan in 2015. Taking action on those incidents was one of the Congress's key promises before the 2017 Punjab Assembly elections.
Punjab elections due early next year
The development comes merely months before Punjab Assembly elections which are due to be held in February-March 2022. The ruling Congress is up against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Aam Aadmi Party, and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) alliance. Former CM Amarinder Singh is also expected to announce the name of his new party in the coming days.