Notwithstanding the tough fight People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) chief Manpreet Badal gave to the ruling Akalis in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in Bathinda on a Congress ticket, his party remains in trouble even in this hinterland, with its talks falling apart with the Congress for the 50-member Bathinda municipal corporation.
The scene remains the same in Hoshiarpur and Phagwara corporations and for at least 22 municipal committees of smaller towns where the two parties would go as rivals for the local elections, PPP leaders here confirmed.
Overlooking the past when Manpreet had polled 1.13 lakh votes of the total around 2 lakh votes in the Bathinda municipal corporation area during the parliamentary elections, the Congress has been adamant on leaving only two of the total 50 seats to the PPP.
The talks finally broke down on Thursday evening, and the PPP has so far filed nominations for 22 wards, PPP Bathinda district president Hardev Singh told HT. Manpreet, when contacted, said these MC polls did not matter for the 2017 assembly elections.
“I had left the matter of contesting the municipal elections to the local party cadres,” he said. Confirming the PPP’s misadventure with the Congress in many local bodies, he said, “It is not possible to keep the flock together for the local elections that are actually not party-oriented and depend on the people’s one-to-one family ties.”
“We have left seven seats that we were contesting in Bathinda for the Congress now,” he said.
When asked why the PPP could not build its own grassroots cadre in three years, he said the party still remained on a firm footing in the state. The PPP would go it alone in the main municipal committees like Mansa, Bhuccho, Goniana and Rampura Phul.
Manpreet had stated earlier that he had asked his party cadres not to confront the Congress in case of a deadlock in all these committees or corporations.
When asked on how many of the six corporations the seat adjustment was materialising, he said the picture would be clear by Friday.
Manpreet said the party would definitely target the 2017 assembly polls “aggressively”, ruling out reports like chances of his joining the Congress or the Aam Aadmi Party as rumours.