Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa made a unity pitch within the party by describing the AAP as the new threat to the Congress in the state, after its stupendous success in Delhi. His bitter intra-party rival and Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, Capt Amarinder Singh, meanwhile appealed to the Congress rank and file not to feel demoralised even though the results were “quite disappointing”.
In his statement, Bajwa called upon Congressmen to meet the new challenge which, he said, would come not from the SAD-BJP combine but from the AAP, “which represents the thinking of the common man”. He said the need of the hour, therefore, was to unite, as factionalism had become the bane of the party over the years.
He added that “Narendra Modi wave” had “petered out” in less than a year and people had “rejected the communal agenda of the BJP”. “They had lost faith in the Congress to provide an alternative. The Congress would hit back with new gusto but would have to put up a united front. The BJP was in alliance with the SAD but even deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who claims to be a master strategist, could not help the alliance win any seats.” He claimed that campaign by the Punjab Congress against drugs “proved to be the last nail in the coffin” of the four Akali candidates in Delhi.
Amarinder too congratulated AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal for the “outstanding success” in Delhi elections, and said he hoped that the AAP would deliver on the promises made to people of the national capital. On any effect on the Congress, he added, “Performance in one or two elections does not decide the fate of a great party like the Congress that is spread across the nook and corner of the country and remains a pan-India party representing all regions and sections of the society.”