An embattled Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa is likely to ask party vice-president Rahul Gandhi to “put an end to his humiliation” by deputy leader of party in Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh when he meets him in New Delhi on Thursday.
Bajwa has also sought time from party president Sonia Gandhi to seek the high command’s intervention to “rein in” the former chief minister, sources close to the Punjab Congress chief said.
Bajwa admitted that he is meeting Rahul on Thursday afternoon. “I will place all the facts before him, including the situation of the party in the state,” Bajwa said.
Sources in the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee said Bajwa would also apprise the party about the recent statement by Congress Legislature Party leader Sunil Jakhar. They alleged that Jakhar had undermined the authority of both the state Congress chief and the party high command at the luncheon meeting organised by Amarinder on Sunday by having said that the “Captain will not go to Delhi, but now Delhi should come to the Captain.”
Amarinder is also learnt to have spoken to Sonia a couple of days ago amid the escalating war between him and Bajwa.
He reportedly told her that he was not ready to work with Bajwa anymore.
With Amarinder upping the ante against him, Bajwa is also likely to claim credit for “driving a wedge” between the Shiromani Akali Dal and the BJP in Punjab, but the Captain not only “undoing” his efforts but also bringing the two back together.
One of Bajwa’s confidants said, “The BJP was on a sticky wicket after announcing Amit Shah’s rally in Amritsar as it was a direct attack on its ally Akali Dal, which would have ensured it flopped. Had Amarinder not used it to show Bajwa down, the Congress could have embarrassed the saffron party by putting up a big show. But now the BJP is likely to hold Shah’s rally with the help of the SAD and it will once again bring them back on good terms.”
With the party brainstorming over a revival plan at the Congress Working Committee meeting on Tuesday, party sources said Punjab could well be the trigger for leadership change in several other states as the high command could not be seen as conceding to the “arm-twisting” by Amarinder.
Hopefuls in Capt-Bajwa war
Following a revolt-like situation from Amarinder, the new chief of the Punjab Congress would have to be acceptable to both the warring sides. Since Amarinder is a Jat Sikh and would like to return as the campaign committee chairman and CM candidate, a non-Jat Sikh may be appointed to the post. The likely contenders are non-Jat Sikhs such as former Punjab Congress chief Mohinder Singh Kaypee, who is trying to be close to both the camps and was present at the luncheon meeting by the Captain and the Maghi Mela conference organised by Bajwa, and former Punjab minister Lal Singh, an OBC, who enjoys the confidence of both Amarinder and Bajwa. The name of Ludhiana MP Ravneet Bittu is also doing the rounds.