Former Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi with Congress MP Rahul Gandhi

Amritsar: Former Punjab Chief Minister and Congress candidate from Jalandhar, Charanjit Singh Channi, found himself embroiled in controversy once again after making remarks during a press conference at his residence in Jalandhar on Saturday, May 25th. Channi stated that if Congress were to come to power at the Centre, they would open the India-Pakistan border, inviting people from Pakistan to Punjab for medical treatment to boost medical tourism in Jalandhar. This statement follows a recent warning issued to Channi by the Election Commission of India for his previous objectionable remarks earlier this month.

During the press conference, Channi also criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi's rally in Jalandhar, branding it as a flop show. His remarks regarding the opening of the Wagah Border raised eyebrows, given India's longstanding policy that terror and talks cannot coexist, with Pakistan needing to halt terrorism for bilateral discussions to resume.

Prime Minister Modi, addressing election rallies in Punjab's Gurdaspur and Jalandhar, countered Channi's statements, accusing the Congress of speaking the language of Pakistan and advocating for policies detrimental to national security. Modi warned against the reintroduction of Article 370 in Kashmir, claiming it would lead to a resurgence of terrorism in the region and strengthen Pakistan's hand.

Channi's controversial remarks come on the heels of a stern warning issued by the Election Commission for violating the Model Code of Conduct. The Commission advised him against repeating such violations in the future and emphasized the importance of adhering to the MCC guidelines. This warning stemmed from Channi's earlier comments on May 5th, where he labelled a terror attack on an Indian Air Force convoy as "Stuntbaazi" orchestrated by the BJP to sway elections.

The Election Commission deemed Channi's response to their warning unsatisfactory, underscoring the need for political discourse to adhere to established norms and refrain from baseless allegations or distortion of facts.

(With Agency Inputs)