Patiala, April 8: Asserting zero tolerance to criminalisation of politics, the Congress candidate from Patiala, Preneet Kaur, on Monday made it clear that the joining of an alleged gangster in the party was neither deliberate nor condonable.
The gangster, identified as Randeep Singh, would not be allowed to remain a member of the Congress at any cost, said Preneet, adding that the party had zero tolerance to criminals getting into politics through nefarious ways.
The gangster in question had joined the party in Patiala at a function last week as part of a group of some 1500 Panjabi University students and she herself was not aware of his criminal antecedents, the former MP and union minister said in a statement issued here. Pointing to the fact that Randeep had been a supporter of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the past, Preneet said the gangster had evidently found an easy way to foray into politics by projecting himself as a student and a political activist.
When hundreds of people are joining the Congress in one go, it becomes difficult to vet each of them, said Preneet, adding that now that Randeep’s background had been brought to her notice, she would personally ensure that he is thrown out of the party. The law would take its course as far as the criminal cases against the gangster were concerned, she said.
Criminals had no place in any political party, she said, urging all parties, including SAD and AAP, to be more cautious in this regard. The Congress, on its part, would take steps to become even more vigilant, and further tighten its screening framework before admitting anyone into the party, said Preneet.
Criminalisation of politics had, in fact, been a key plank of the Congress in the 2017 Assembly elections, Preneet recalled, pointing out that the politician-gangster nexus had made the lives of the people of Punjab a living hell during the SAD-BJP rule. Allegations of political patronage to gangsters and hardened criminals were rampant during the previous regime, she said, asking the Akalis to focus more on monitoring their own activities than on accusing the Congress of “trying to win the Lok Sabha elections by hook or by crook.”