The daggers are out for Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa after the debacle in the Lok Sabha elections in the state. A day after the poor results, many party leaders, including sitting legislators, demanded that he resigned on moral grounds.
Bajwa, however, has said that the party high command knew what the scene in the country was. “Still, in Punjab we did better than all the adjoining states,” he added.
“I am answerable to the party high command and will abide by whatever it decides for the good of the state Congress,” said the leader, asked if he would resign.
Senior Congress leader Jagmeet Singh Brar said: “Leave infighting; already it has cost the party dear. The AAP (Aam Aadmi Party) hurt the Akalis and the Congress alike.”
Of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab, the Congress could win only three (Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar). In 2009, the tally was eight.
Bajwa lost own seat, Gurdaspur, by 1.36-lakh votes, trailing in all nine assembly segments, including Qadian, where his wife, Charanjit Kaur Bajwa, is legislator.
On Saturday, state Congress vice-president Kewal Singh Dhillon, asking Bajwa to quit, said: “It’s one of the worst ever performances in a huge anti-incumbency wave against the state Akali-BJP government.”
On Friday, after the results, Guru Har Sahai legislator Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi was the first to revolt against Bajwa. For party’s morale, the leaders want the stewardship given to Captain Amarinder Singh.
Those calling for Bajwa’s head include OP Soni, Raj Kumar Verka, Avtar Henry, Jugal Kishore, Mohammad Sadiqe, Rana Gurjit, Surinder Singla, Rana Kaypee, RS Chhajalwadi, Sukh Sarkaria, Ch Jagjit Singh, Raman Bhalla, Ajaib Singh Bhatti, Sher Singh Gaggowal, Surjit Singh Dhiman, Ajaib Singh Rataul, Sunil Datti, Kaka Lohgar, Gur Iqbal Kaur, Hardayal Kambhoj and others.
A close aide of Bajwa said his critics should look within to know who is to blame. He said state Congress Legislature Party leader and Ferozepur nominee Sunil Jakhar lost from Guru Har Sahai assembly segment of Rana Gurmit Sodhi by more than 9,000 votes; and in Sangrur, Vijay Inder Singla polled barely 18,000 votes in Barnala assembly segment of Kewal Singh Dhillon.
In Khadoor Sahib, Harminder Singh Gill, lost by more than 38,000 votes in the assembly segment where Ramanjit Sikki is legislator. “Who would you blame for the defeat of Preneet, wife of the state’s most high-profile Congress leader,” he said.