Chandigarh, April 21 – The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today said the Punjab Congress had all but folded up in Punjab after its President Capt Amarinder Singh had scooted off on a foreign trip along with his coterie after being snubbed by Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi.
In a statement here, SAD general Secretary Dr Daljit Singh Cheema said it appeared that Capt Amarinder, who did not allow former Pradesh Congress President Partap Singh Bajwa to function as PCC president, was being paid back in the same coin. He said a high level meeting held by the Punjab Congress yesterday to discuss the wheat procurement issue saw the same being boycotted by senior leaders including Partap Bajwa, Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and Shamsher Singh Dullo.
Dr Cheema said this was not all. Even Congress legislature Party leader Charanjit Singh Channi did not attend the meeting which anyway was a non- starter as the centre had released the cash credit limit for procurement of wheat in the State even as it was being held. He said apparently Channi was miffed that Abohar legislator Sunil Jakhar and former minister Lal Singh had been entrusted with the task of holding the meeting and not him.
The akali leader said the intense factionalism in the Punjab Congress was also reflective in the team which Capt Amarinder had chosen to take along with him during his ongoing foreign trip. He said various senior leaders had been ignored while coterie members had been included in the trip. He said this had caused wide discontent in the party and was likely to harm it further.
Dr Cheema said the Congress seemed to be virtually folding up in the State. He said the party high command had snubbed Capt Amarinder repeatedly by refusing to give the Rajya Sabha tickets to his nominees, not releasing the new organisation team submitted by him since two months and lately even not anointing him as the party’s chief ministerial candidate. He said this was not all. The party legislators were refusing to accept Charanjit Channi as the CLP leader as could be seen in their behaviour in the assembly and even in party meetings.
He said it was due to this leadership crisis in the Punjab Congress that the party rank and file was ditching the party in large numbers. “The Congress has virtually vanished from large pockets of the State”, he said adding the day was not far off when it would disappear altogether from Punjab.