Amarinder to hold luncheon meeting with loyalist congress MLAs today

  • Manpreet Randhawa, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jun 16, 2015 09:05 IST

Deputy leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha and former Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh is holding a series of meetings here with party leaders, including some loyalist MLAs, apparently to chalk out the Congress strategy against the SAD-BJP alliance in the 2017 assembly polls.

Amarinder is holding these interactions with MLAs and other state Congress leaders in the backdrop of his meeting with party president Sonia Gandhi in the presence of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on June 8.

His close associates sent messages to party MLAs to have an interaction and a luncheon meeting with Amarinder here on Monday and Tuesday.

"Yes, I received a message that Amarinder is here and would like to meet us and also host lunch for us," an MLA from the Malwa region told Hindustan Times, requesting anonymity.

Amarinder associates, however, say that he is in the city after a long time, so they just conveyed to some legislators about a meeting with him.

It is learnt that on Monday, MLAs such as Sukhjinder Randhawa, Rana Gurjit Singh, Kewal Dillon and Balbir Singh Sidhu were the first to call on Amarinder. "It was just a routine meeting, nothing particular on party affairs. On Tuesday, he is hosting lunch for us," said Sidhu, when asked to specify the agenda for his meeting.

A week ago, Amarinder, during his 40-minute-long meeting with Sonia and Rahul, had conveyed that since only 18 months were left for the assembly polls in Punjab, so the high command should decide on the state leadership issue as soon as possible.

Amarinder has been openly demanding the removal of PPCC president Partap Singh Bajwa ever since the latter was appointed in 2013.

During his meeting, the former CM had also expressed concern over the Congress' empty coffers in Punjab and stressed upon a strategy to ensure that the party had sufficient financial resources to take on the ruling Badals.

Amarinder emphasised on the need for taking on the Badals directly so as to motivate and rejuvenate the party cadres.
He had also stressed the need to take some harsh decisions on the selection of candidates if the party wanted to come back to power after 10 years, while seeking early selection of nominees.

Amarinder had told the high command about the Aam Aadmi Party's (AAP) growing base in Punjab since the 2014 parliamentary polls. He observed that the AAP needed to be tackled on the ground as well as in the social media, adding that the backing for the party among non-resident Indians (NRIs) also needed to be matched. According to him, 34 seats reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates would be very crucial in forming the government in 2017.

Sonia and Rahul have so far given no assurance to Amarinder on the various proposals he had put forward during the meeting.

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