Eighteen of the 31 Congress rebels who contested the Punjab assembly elections as Independents here on Thursday vowed to fight political vendetta unitedly.
"We would fight high-handedness and false cases slapped with a political motive by the SAD-BJP government or even by senior Congress leaders," said Sukhjinder Raj Singh Lalli Majithia, a former Congress leader who unsuccessfully contested the elections from Majitha as an Independent.
He claimed the support of six other rebels who couldn't make it to the meeting here. "The remaining seven kept delaying their consent to stand with us. So, 24 of us decided to come together on a common platform," Lalli Majithia said. Other rebels who shared the dais with him included Sucha Singh Chhottepur, Hans Raj Jossan, Varinder Kumar and Gurbir Singh Sandhu.
Of the rebels, only one was elected MLA - Rajneesh Kumar Babbi from Mukerian constituency.
Speaking on the occasion, Chhottepur said their group would soon meet the Lok Sabha speaker and demand the formation of a parliamentary committee to look into cases of vendetta in Punjab, unleashed by the SAD-BJP government, and also approach the National Human Rights Commission with a complaint against government functionaries behind registering false cases against Congress workers and leaders.
On Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh's argument that the Congress lost because of rebels as they accepted huge bribes from the Shiromani Akali Dal to contest as rebels, Lalli Majithia declined comment. Instead, he said it was the wrong distribution of tickets by the Congress that paved the way for the SAD-BJP victory.
After the election results, Amarinder had claimed that SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal offered Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore to each Congress rebel to contest against the official party candidate. "We are not aware of money changing hands," Lalli Majithia said.
He said all these rebels had been expelled from the Congress as they refused to withdraw from the poll fray. "In case there is an offer, we would rejoin the Congress," said Chhottepur.