Facing an open revolt against his leadership, Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa met party vice-president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Thursday evening amid aggressive posturing by former chief minister and deputy leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh for replacing him.
The meeting lasted for over half an hour but there is no word on his fate for now as neither Bajwa took any calls nor the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) issued any statement about the meeting.
Bajwa, who had gone to seek the Gandhi scion’s intervention to rein in Amarinder, is learnt to have spoken on the need to end factionalism in the party at a time when the ties between the ruling Akali-BJP alliance are fraying and the government is facing “strong anti-incumbency”.
Sources in the PPCC said the meeting was “fruitful’ as the state Congress chief had been assured of the party’s backing by Rahul and told to focus on more “pressing” issues such as how to take on the NDA government on the land acquisition ordinance.
Rahul has agreed to participate in a farmers’ rally in Punjab in March against the “dilution” of land acquisition act by the Narendra Modi government, a move which would also signal the show of solidarity for the beleaguered state chief. But there was no official statement or confirmation of the rally by the PPCC till the filing of this report.
Bajwa is also learnt to have told Rahul about how the party had been able to drive a wedge between the SAD-BJP alliance in Punjab through its “relentless agitation” on the drug menace.He also apprised him of his plan to gherao BJP president Amit Shah whenever the latter visited Punjab to launch his anti-drug campaign and expose the “double-speak” of the BJP.