Crass politics of toppling DGPs in Punjab

January 08, 2022 03:39 PM

Ajay Bhardwaj 

It will go as a disturbingly remarkable chapter in the annals of Punjab Police that the state saw four DGPs replacing one another under the Channi government which came to power effectively for three months. 

Today when VK Bhawara displaced S Chattopadhyaya hours before the election model code came in effect, it reflected how myopic political leadership can play havoc with the force. 

Immediate removal of DGP  Dinkar Gupta,  who headed the police force during the tenure of Capt Amarinder as chief minister,  was apparently guided by change of guards in the chief minister office. Soon after assuming office  Charanjit Singh Channi as chief minister inducted IPS Sahota as DGP. 

The political cacophony made sure that Sahota remained on tenterhooks with Sidhu openly vouching for the change. 

The political leadership of Channi and PCC president Navjot Sidhu soon found Sahota not bending over backwards to suit their designs.

In comes S. Chattopadhyaya as a new DGP much before Sahota could even hold a formal meeting with all his field officers. 

Chattopadhyaya was perceived to have come to deliver political mandate of Channi and Sidhu.

Chattopadhyaya made Akali leader Bikram Majithia run for the bail but couldn't do much beyond that. 

When Chattopadhyaya didn't find place in the UPSC list of merit for the state DGP,  it was clear his days in the office were numbered. 

About the time Election Commission readies to effect the model code,  Chattopadhyaya packs his bags yielding space to Bhawara. 

The Punjab Police's story of shifting DGPs was never so sordid and crude.

The police force recently had an example of  Suresh Arora,  who served as DGP, both with the Akali and the Congress governments delivering a loud and distinct message of professionalism. 

Never in the history of Punjab Police top heads were shuffled so recklessly and unabashedly. There has always been a decor.

But this time, during the Channi government tenure, the political chicanery in shuffling the heads was too crass and unabashed. Warning bells for the force indeed.

What message goes down to a constable with this is not a matter of speculation rather it's a cause of worry. 

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