With resentment against the list of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) office-bearers growing by the day, state party unit chief Partap Singh Bajwa on Thursday said the entire body was constituted in consultation with the senior Congress leadership and he was merely the recommending authority.
Bajwa told Hindustan Times that before finalising the PPCC list, feedback from senior leaders and workers of the Punjab Congress was taken and deliberated upon. Thereafter, All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Shakeel Ahmed, who is also in-charge of party affairs in Punjab, had thoroughly scrutinised the appointments.
"The list was finally sent to Sonia Gandhi for the final approval before it was made public on December 27. During the entire process, I was just the recommending authority," said Bajwa.
Asked if there was a possibility of reviewing the list in view of disgruntled voices, Bajwa said there was no point in tinkering with the final PPCC body, but he was ready to consider and redress grievances of those who felt that they had got a raw deal.
"I know that there are voices of discontent in the state. In any exercise of this magnitude, certain elements would invariably be dissatisfied. Sometimes, in the larger interests of the party, it is difficult to please all.
But instead of going to the media, if they approach me, I will surely try to help them and address their problems. Everything is possible and can be sorted through negotiations," the PPCC chief said.
On what was the need for such a jumbo list of the PPCC when not even the AICC had such a huge number of office-bearers (nearly 320), Bajwa said he wanted to give due representation to all sections and while doing so he had to bring in a number of young and new faces.
When asked why there were MLAs in the PPCC when the norm was that the AICC did not have MPs on its list, Bajwa said the point was thoroughly debated upon.
"In Punjab, where the Congress has been out of power for nearly seven years, no government authority is ready to listen to an office-bearer or an ordinary worker. So, we had to include MLAs in the list so that they could take up public issues at the top level of the state government," explained Bajwa.
PPCC meeting on Jan 6
Partap Singh Bajwa has summoned the first meeting of office-bearers of the newly-constituted PPCC in Chandigarh on January 6. The meeting will be attended by the treasurer, vice-presidents, general secretaries, secretaries and district Congress committee presidents. Members of the executive committee, nearly 148 in number, have not been invited for this meeting.
"The meeting has been called to initiate an agitation programme against the SAD-BJP government on various issues. After this meeting, we will soon call a meeting of the general House in which all Congress workers would be invited to participate," said Bajwa.
Since the release of the PPCC list last week, several Punjab Congress leaders have turned rebels, openly accusing Partap Singh Bajwa of being unfair in picking office-bearers and ignoring seniority as well as merit.
These are Kharar MLA Jagmohan Singh Kang, Fatehgarh Churian MLA Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa; Punjab Mahila Congress Committee president Malti Thapar; former president, district Congress committee (DCC), Ludhiana, KK Bawa; former MLAs Raman Bahl and Vijay Sathi; former presidents, DCC, Moga, Jagdarshan Kaur Dharamkot and Col Babu Singh; and SGPC member Sukhjeet Singh Kaka Lohgarh.