The ruling AAP in Punjab Sunday said the G-20 meeting slated in Amritsar later this month will be held on schedule after some opposition leaders raised fears that the Centre could shift the event over law-and-order concerns following the Ajnala incident.
"G-20 is taking place (in Amritsar) according to the schedule. These are just rumours. Attempts are being made by some opposition leaders to defame Punjab," the chief spokesperson of the Aam Aadmi Party's Punjab unit Malvinder Singh Kang told PTI over the phone.
Asked to comment on the opposition's fears, Amritsar's Deputy Commissioner Harpreet Singh Sudan said, "We have no confirmation, no official communication on this (that the meeting was being shifted out of Amritsar)."
Opposition parties, including the Congress and BJP, have been targeting the Bhagwant Mann government over the law-and-order situation in the state. They have sharpened their attack after last month's Ajnala incident in which the supporters of self-styled Sikh preacher and Khalistani sympathiser Amritpal Singh stormed a police station with swords and guns and demanded the release of his aide Lovepreet Singh 'Toofan'. The aide was later released from jail.
"Dear @PMOIndia Sh @narendramodi & @AmitShah, conspiracy to exclude Sri Amritsar Sahib from #G20 hosts list became known when national channels started highlighting (radical preacher) Amritpal. This is suggestive of the utter failure of intel & law enforcement agencies," Congress MP from Amritsar Gurjeet Singh Aujla wrote on Twitter Sunday.
"@HMOIndia & @CMOPb @BhagwantMann your poor grip over law and order is noticed well by anti-India elements pulling strings of hoax creators and it is getting exploited. @MEAIndia Punjab is a safe state & can host #G20Summit. Do not push Punjab into another era of darkness," he added.
Another Punjab Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira said it would be a big setback if the G-20 meeting in Amritsar is shifted out.
"If news of the cancellation of the G-20 Summit in Amritsar is true, it's a major setback for PB as our reputation as a safe haven for investment will be trashed apart from losing national & international reputation! @BhagwantMann needs to set his house in order & not take orders from Delhi," Khaira tweeted.
However, senior AAP leader Vikramjit Singh said the G-20 meeting in Amritsar will take place on schedule.
"Happy to inform that as of now @g20org meeting is confirmed at #Amritsar during 15-17 Mar as scheduled. Punjab is fully capable of hosting an international event & one stray Incident can't be a reflection of the state. It will be a memorable event @BhagwantMann @harjotbains @DrSJaishankar," Singh tweeted.
G-20 events on education are scheduled to be held in Amritsar from March 15-17 while the L20 meeting on Labour is scheduled for March 19-20. A sub-committee of the Punjab Cabinet was formed last year to oversee preparations for the G20 event in Amritsar.
Chief Minister Mann recently directed officials to ensure fool-proof arrangements for the meetings. He has said it's a matter of pride for the state to have got an opportunity to hold such a big event.
The G20 or Group of 20 is an intergovernmental forum of the world's major developed and developing economies.