Punjab’s Opposition parties have sharpened their attack on the ruling Congress government ahead of the Shahkot Assembly bypoll on May 28 after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh accused the Shiromani Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party of implicating the Congress’s candidate in an illegal sand mining case to tarnish his image.“The Election Commission should issue arrest orders against Congress Shahkot by-poll candidate Hardev Singh Laddi immediately,” SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said on Wednesday while addressing a rally in support of party candidate Naib Singh Kohar.‘CM violated code’The Akalis had also submitted a memorandum to Chief Electoral Officer S. Karuna Raju, in which they accused the Chief Minister of violating the model code of conduct during a press conference on May 7.“The Chief Minister gave a clean chit to Congress candidate Hardev Singh Laddi even as the police booked him for illegal mining activity. Indirectly the Chief Minister aimed at pressurising the police to not act against the Congress leader,” alleged SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema, adding an inquiry into the illegal sand mining case against the Congress candidate should be conducted by the Election Commission.Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly and AAP MLA Sukhpal Singh Khaira also alleged that Capt. Amarinder was misusing his official authority and the police machinery to influence the outcome of the Shahkot by-election.“An FIR was registered against the Congress candidate and others for illegal mining on the directions of Election Commission of India. However, the Chief Minister recently termed the FIR as politically motivated and accused the opposition leaders including myself and Akali leader Daljit Singh Cheema of being the architects of the FIR. By making such remarks the Chief Minister has become party to the tainted Congress candidate,” said Mr. Khaira.“I urge the Election Commission to initiate action against Capt. Amarinder for derailing investigations against the Congress candidate for Shahkot bypoll,” added Mr. Khaira.