The Punjab CM has probably realised that he loses out significantly over the ongoing war of words following the security lapse during PM Modi’s visit. No CM or any other elected representative for that matter wants to stay at the centre of controversy and Channi is no different. So, he has gone into damage control mode.
Charanjit Singh Channi expresses regret over security lapse
The Hindu has reported that on Thursday, CM Channi expressed regret over PM Modi’s security lapse incident in Punjab earlier this month. As per The Hindu, Channi expressed regret to PM Modi over the security lapse incident at the latter’s interaction with CMs on the COVID-19 situation in the country through videoconferencing. The Punjab CM also wished the Prime Minister a long life.
Channi had earlier asserted there was no security lapse
The latest remarks by Channi are quite interesting. Earlier, he had asserted that there was no security lapse.
He had said, “Where was the threat to his life? Nobody was within a kilometre of you. No stone was thrown, no bullet was fired, no slogans were raised. How can you say ‘I made it alive’! Such a sensitive statement from such a big leader. People voted you as Prime Minister – you should make responsible statements. You are saying we want to kill our Prime Minister.”
Why has Channi expressed regret now?
He is controlling the damage caused to his image. After the security lapse incident, many Congress leaders traded barbs with the BJP.
Punjab Congress tweeted, “PM Modi’s ego is hurt as no one came to attend his rally in Punjab. Modi did not meet the farmers for more than a year, that is why Punjabis also did not listen to Modi. BJP is just trying to find ways to cover up the fact that their rally in Punjab was a total flop.”
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu said, “I want to ask Pradhan Mantri Sahab, our farmer brothers camped at the Delhi borders for over one year Tell me, they stayed there for one and half-year. Your media did not say anything. And yesterday you had to wait for 15 minutes.”
Channi himself said, “There were 70,000 chairs which had been put up at the Ferozepur public rally venue of the BJP, but only 700 turned up (for the BJP event), what can I do in this?”
With patently insensitive remarks, the Channi-led government in Punjab was the one getting labelled inefficient and also insensitive. Channi was the one who faced backlash for some not-so-sensitive comments coming from Congress. National President – Indian Youth Congress Srinivas BV, for example, tweeted, “Modi ji, How’s the Josh?”
Channi tries to reassert his position
The political message that went out after the security lapse and a series of insensitive remarks was that the Channi government acted inefficiently and on top of that it was being insensitive.
Other party leaders said what they felt like because they had nothing to lose. But Channi has the CM seat and political power to retain. Insensitive remarks or personal attacks against the Prime Minister only undermine Punjab CM’s position.
Amidst reports of Channi-Sidhu rivalry confusing the Punjab Congress cadre, the Punjab CM realises that political mudslinging over the security lapse incident doesn’t harm Sidhu at all. It is Channi himself who stands to lose.
So, a balancing act followed. Channi decided to change his approach. He expressed regret over the security lapse and also wished PM Modi a long life. He is no longer trying to go into denial mode and is trying to improve his image as a responsible politician ahead of the Punjab elections.