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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

With Cong support, ray of hope for PPP

Prabhjit Singh, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, May 23, 2013
First Published: 00:39 IST(23/5/2013) | Last Updated: 00:41 IST(23/5/2013)

The People's Party of Punjab (PPP), which drew a blank in the 2012 assembly polls, put up a decent show in the May 19 block samiti and zila parishad polls, thanks largely to its seat adjustment with the main opposition party, the Congress.

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The PPP bagged 42 block samiti and four zila parishad seats, igniting hopes of a bigger role for the party in state politics.

The districts where the PPP made its presence felt in the block samiti polls included Nawanshahr (eight seats), Sangrur, Bathinda and Mansa (five each), Hoshiarpur (four), Fatehgarh Sahib (two). The party also won a zila parishad seat each in Fatehgarh Sahib, Hoshiarpur, Nawanshahr and Rupnagar districts.

Satisfied at the results, the party's founder-leader, Manpreet Singh Badal, said he was keen to continue with efforts to mobilise party cadres at the grassroots level.

"Our block-level pardhans (chiefs) and those of the Congress suggested a seat adjustment between the two parties, wherever feasible. It worked," said Manpreet.

Manpreet's close aide Gurpreet Singh Bhatti, along with Congress MLA Kuljit Nagra, were instrumental in the alliance's victory in the Khamano block of Fatehgarh Sahib district.

Manpreet added that the PPP was a new party which had faced the assembly polls with no electoral exercise or experience at the grassroots level.

He expressed hope of "some kind of a united opposition against the SAD" in the 2014 general elections.

"It is up to the Congress high command to realise the importance of a secular united front in Punjab," he said, when asked whether there would be a tie-up with the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections, with 13 seats at stake in the state.

Ruling out the possibility of joining the Congress, Manpreet rubbished all speculation as "rhetoric of outdated rumours".

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