Congress general secretary and Rajya Sabha member Ambika Soni has said that she is not a contender for being either state party president or chief minister.
Addressing the media persons on Saturday here, she said that as a senior leader of the party, her concern was to unite all its workers in the state. She denied that she or any member of her family would contest the assembly election from Rupnagar in 2017. "All Congress workers are my family, and there is no dearth of leaders and ideal candidates among them," she said.
She accused the state government of failing to give a promised grant of Rs 12 crore to the villages that members of Parliament had adopted under the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana. Responding to another query, she said that talks for contesting the Bihar assembly elections in an alliance with the Janata Dal (United) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) were on and hopes were bright.
Earlier, at a function to distribute development-grant cheques for Rs 2.28 crore among the villages of the Rupnagar block, Soni said the Congress would give its offices to only the workers who fought for the people and had a mass base. Former legislator Rana KP Singh said on the occasion that the Congress was fully united in Rupnagar district under Soni's leadership.
Former state minister Ramesh Dutt Sharma; former district party presidents Amarjit Singh Saini and Sukhwinder Singh Whisky; and party leaders Amarjit Singh Bhullar and Gurinder Singh Gogi also spoke. Kharar legislator Jagmohan Singh Kang and senior Congress leader CD Kamboj were present. Earlier, Soni distributed development-grant cheques for Rs 60 lakh among the villages around Nurpur Bedi.
Rupnagar Cong chief boycotts function
Rupnagar District Congress Committee (DCC) president Harbhag Singh Saini boycotted the party's grant-distribution function over being kept out of its preparations for three months.
"(Congress MP Ambika) Soni informed me about the function only a few days ago, that too when I reached her on telephone. Moreover, the people behind the function do not accept me as district party president," said Saini, claiming Soni had even returned the list of villages he had recommended for grants from her MPLAD (MP's Local Area Development) fund. Confronted, Soni said she had talked to Saini twice about the function and now she had reported the matter to state party president Partap Singh Bajwa, besides Shakeel Ahmad, who looks after Punjab affairs in the party.