In an indirect dig at Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa, party leader Amarinder Singh on Friday prodded him to contest polls from Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat.
Addressing a press conference here, Amarinder, who has been a state party chief and Chief Minister, claimed that he never backed off from polls despite holding important posts in the party and the government.
"During my 16 years, when I remained PPCC head, Chief Minister and even state election committee in-charge, I fought polls," he told the reporters when asked about Bajwa's reported reluctance to contest the Lok Sabha elections.
"I have conveyed my opinion to Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi," Amarinder Singh, who is also a permanent invitee to the AICC, said.
Jibing at the state Congress chief, Amarinder said, "Our family is united now. Bajwa must take along with him all those who are close to him in Gurdaspur."
The Congress leader again took aim at Bajwa, when asked about his close confidant Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu quitting as Congress MLA to join SAD, saying, "During my tenure at responsible positions in the Congress, only one MLA Joginderpal Jain had switched loyalities... but after that some five MLAs have left Congress... only Bajwa can answer why they have left."
Amarinder Singh, however, rejected claims that more Congress MLAs were planning to join SAD, saying, "No one is going into the Akali ranks from Congress."
Referring to reported claims of MLAs Arvind Khanna, Mohammad Sadiq and Harchand Kaur joining Akali Dal, he said, "All claims on these Congress MLAs by Akalis are baseless. All kind of stories on these MLAs are deliberately planted in media by the Akalis."
On the occasion, Amarinder's younger brother Malvinder Singh, who had joined the SAD after being denied a ticket ahead of 2012 Assembly polls, returned to Congress.
"We have buried the hatchet," Malvinder said on his home-coming. "Our difference have been solved."
"I returned to Congress as I was repeatedly asked to do so by Sonia," he claimed.
Malvinder's return is expected to boost the chances of party candidate Preneet Kaur who is seeking re-election from Patiala.
"I will campaign for Preneet, my sister-in-law," he said.
When asked about Congress' alliance with People's Party of Punjab (PPP) and the decision to nominate PPP chief Manpreet Singh Badal to contest from Bathinda Lok Sabha seat, Amarinder said, "It's a decision taken by the Congress high command and we are bound to follow it."
When asked whether Congress-PPP alliance will help Manpreet, he said, "Alliances always helps in politics.
We will support Manpreet," he said, adding, "Manpreet is up against a family which is master in arm-twisting."