Cong demoralised; leaders running away from polls: Sukhbir | chandigarh | Hindustan Times
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Cong demoralised; leaders running away from polls: Sukhbir

chandigarh Updated: Mar 16, 2014 13:54 IST

Congress is a demoralised party as several of its leaders, including union minister Manish Tewari and state chief Partap Singh Bajwa, are running away from the electoral battle for Lok Sabha, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said on Sunday.

"How can a party function when Bajwa is running away from contesting Lok Sabha polls," he added.

He was speaking here after inducting a former Congress minister and former MLA Ishar Singh Meharban into the Akali fold.

Referring to union minister Manish Tewari, who was hospitalised in New Delhi on Sataurday, he said, "I am sad." However, taking a jibe at Tewari, he added, "he is running away from contesting polls as he knows Congress leaders, including Ishar Singh, from Ludhiana parliamentary constituency are joining Akali Dal."

"You can imagine the kind of moral Congress leaders in Punjab are into, if leaders like Bajwa and Tewari are running away from contesting polls what will be the mindset of Congress workers," he said.

On BJP allocating Amritsar Lok Sabha ticket to Arun Jaitley and ignoring three-time MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, Sukhbir said "its an internal matter of BJP."

"The BJP takes its decision on its own. Akali Dal do not interfere into BJP's affairs," Sukhbir added.

He, however, said, "Jaitley will be a major player in the next government at Centre and Punjab will benefit from it." Sukhbir rejected assertions that turncoats joining Akali Dal could demoralise party workers, saying, "we only pick diamonds from Congress. Before brining any leader from any other party to Akali Dal, I consult party cadre and then only take a call."

Later, another Congress leader Rajbir Singh Padiala who wields influence in Kharar region, also joined Akali Dal.

Ishar Singh, who lost the 2012 Assembly elections from Jagraon seat to an Akali Dal candidate by a margin of less than 300 votes, lambasted Bajwa for not taking along senior party leaders.

Ishar, who remained in Congress for 35 years, said Congress workers in Punjab were demoralised especially after Bajwa was elected PPCC chief.

On being asked that former chief minister Amarinder Singh's brother Malwinder Singh recently joining Congress after quitting Akali Dal, Sukhbir jokingly said, "we wanted that the Patiala royal family remained together."

Polling for 13 Lok Sabha seats of Punjab will be held on April 30.