Published October 12, 2012 | 10:09 am
The chorus demanding the replacement of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President Capt. Amarinder Singh has even gone louder after the Punjab visit of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi.
The Rahul visit has clearly hinted that Punjab Congress is in for a change. Whether Pradesh Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh stays or not, there will be a massive change in the manner in which the state Congress is run.
Rahul Gandhi had planned his Punjab visit to boost the morale of the party workers and to find the grass roots reasons for party’s humiliating defeat in the past elections.
Rahul has invited feedback from MLAs and MPs, block and district presidents and youth leaders, to chalk out a strategy for the party’s revival in state.He also met 45 district unit leaders.During these meetings, Amarinder and Charak were not allowed to be present to get a clear picture about the party factionalism and the voices of dissent.
Rahul also learnt that some party leaders got favours in various forms from those seeking the party ticket and they were asked to visit Delhi with evidence. Babby an independent MLA from Mukerian and son of former speaker Dr.Kewal Krishan reportedly told Rahul Gandhi that Gulchain Singh Charak had denied him party ticket because his rival had paid bribe to get ticket.
Sources told SAANJ NEWS that Rahul has also sough detailed report on factionalism within the party cadres and the list pf supporters of factions headed by state unit president Capt Amarinder Singh, Gurdaspur MP Partap Singh Bajwa and former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal.
Rahul made it clear to party rank and file that the high command wants to revamp state unit following reports of large scale exodus of party leaders and their joining of ruling SAD.
The Congressmen who spoke against Capt Singh included Raghunanadan Lal Bhatia,Mohinder Singh Kay Pee,H.S.Hanspal, Shamsher Singh Dullo, Ambika Soni, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and former minister Lal Singh.
Sources also claimed that some Congress leaders also told Rahul that Amarinder Singh still retains the image of crowd puller even after the dismal performance of party in the last assembly polls. Rahul was told that he was still the best choice for Punjab and that even the 47 seats won by the party in the last elections were because of his charisma.
Since the Akali Dal-BJP combine stormed back to power in the Assembly elections ,it had led to demoralization and frustration in the Congress. A section of the Congress leaders at that time also had demanded sacking of Capt. Amarinder Singh as the party had successively lost two elections under his leadership.
The very people who had been supporting him for years now also want a change. Despite the fact that the Congress has 46 MLAs in house of 117 in the state, the party has miserably failed to function as a strong opposition as was witnessed during the corporation elections.
But the question still remains unanswered as to who is capable of giving a befitting reply to SAD chief and Punjab deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal.
It’s a serious challenge before the party high command to get a replacement for Amarinder Singh, an aggressive leader and a close confidant of Sonia Gandhi. He had also had a close liaison with former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.