iconimg Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Kamaldeep Singh Brar , Hindustan Times
Bathinda, September 24, 2013
Congress workers in the town are a confused lot as union law minister and Congress leader Kapil Sibal and Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa are slated to visit the town on the same day -- Wednesday. Bajwa's visit is being organised by Harmander Singh Jassi whereas Sibal's visit is being organised by Surinder Singla. Jassi and Singla are rival Congress leaders; Jassi was the Bathinda MLA in 2007 and Singla in 2002. Both are eyeing the ticket for the forthcoming parliamentary polls.

While Jassi's men were busy seeking permission from the administration for Bajwa's rallies to be held in the town on Wednesday and Thursday, Singla's aide is meeting the administration to finalise the route programme for Sibal, who has to attend several functions in the town.

Last week, Jassi announced that Bajwa would spend two days in the town to strengthen the party. While the district Congress was gearing up for the visit, Singla sprang a surprise by announcing the route programme for Sibal's visit.

Singla announced that Sibal and Bajwa would share the stage at the local SSD College. But Jassi said the two leaders could share the stage according to the suitability of their respective programmes.

Singla claimed there was no conflict between the visits as Bajwa's visit had been organised single-handedly by Jassi. "It was planned. You can check the foundation stone to be laid at SSD College on which Bajwa's name is mentioned. There is no controversy over the visits," said Singla.

Jassi said, "Both are senior leaders of the Congress. Our aim is to fight with the Badal family. The visit of both leaders will strengthen the fight against the Badals. Both will share the stage according to the suitability of their schedule."

Sibal will attend a family function at the place of Congress leader and Singal's close confidante Anil Bhola. Then he will visit the local Bar Council, followed by a visit to SSD College and lunch with a local industrialist.

On the other hand, the schedule of Bajwa's first day in the town released to the media does not mention his meeting with Sibal.

According to Rupinder Bindra, district Congress press secretary, Bajwa is supposed to hold three rallies in three corners of the town and will have 15 cups of tea at 15 points with different sections of society.

It remains to be seen whether he would have the 16th with Sibal.