An information commissioner of Punjab has been accused of campaigning for the BJP despite holding a constitutional post after he uploaded on Facebook photos “showing his “involvement in party activities”.
Anumit Heera Sodhi—son of BJP leader Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, who was formerly with the Congress — rejected the criticism saying he was allowed to meet people from all sections of society. “I am still a state information commissioner. If I am asked to contest election then I will resign from my post. Right now I am not campaigning. I am meeting people in society. I am allowed to meet the people. People from all sections of society meet me,” Sodhi told The Indian Express when asked if he is allowed to run a political campaign.
Sodhi’s Facebook page, followed by 43,000 people, tells a slightly different story, though. On Thursday, Sodhi posted photos of himself standing with a group of Majhabi Sikhs who joined the BJP, along with the tags #TeamRanaSodhi, Rana Singh, Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “Troubled with the policies of Congress policies, Majhabi Sikh community members from village Shadeen in Ferozpur city assembly constituency joined BJP. I thanks [sic] them for honouring the policies of prime minister Narendra Modi,” reads the information commissioner’s post. On January 3, he participated in a march held by the BJP youth wing in Ferozepur and uploaded the programme’s photos on Facebook.
Sodhi had also shared an interview with a YouTube channel in which he explained why his family joined the BJP.
On December 28, while inspecting the arrangements for the prime minister’s scheduled visit to Ferozepur, Sodhi posted a Facebook Live video with with the deputy commissioner and the senior superintended of police also in the frame.
And a video is circulating on the internet where Sodhi is seen approaching some sit-in protesters, only to be asked what he had done in the past five years.
It is interesting that the State Information Commission’s website mentions that Sodhi, as “a Youth Congress delegate, organised and planned elections of Pannchyat, Zila Parishad, Block Samati, MC Ferozpur and Punjab Assembly Elections”.
Sodhi was made an information commissioner in October 2020, when his father was a minister in Captain Amarinder Singh’s Congress government. Sodhi, a graduate, was appointed allegedly overlooking more than a dozen former bureaucrats including IAS and IPS officers.
Sodhi had then written on Facebook: “I’m grateful to Captain Amarinder Singh Ji &#INCPunjab for appointing me as State Information Commissioner. Thank u for entrusting ur faith in my ability & I’m confident that i will perform my duties with utmost sincerity. Punjab Da Captain. Captain Amarinder Singh. Indian National Congress– Punjab. Indian National Congress. Punjab Youth Congress. Indian Youth Congress.”
And his father Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, then a Congress minister, had tweeted, “I’m grateful to @capt_amarinder Ji @PunjabGovtIndia for appointing Anumit Singh Sodhi @anumitsodhi as Members of State Information Commissioner. Thanku for entrusting faith in my son’s ability & I’m confident that he vl perform his duties with utmost sincerity.”
Rana Sodhi later surprised many when he joined the BJP instead of Amarinder’s newly floated Punjab Lok Congress.