Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday met a dozen of party legislators from Punjab to seek their views on the possible change of guard in the state unit.
Majority of the 12 MLAs – the Congress has 43 legislators in the 117-member Punjab assembly -- that met Rahul one-on-one were of the view that the bitter wrangling between former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and state president Partap Singh Bajwa could hurt the party’s prospects in 2017 polls.
They urged Rahul to immediately address the uncertainty in the state by appointing Amarinder as the state chief as Bajwa had failed to carry along all section within the party and is not in a position to give a fight to either the Akali Dal-BJP combine or the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that has emerged as a significant political force in Punjab.
But the delay or indecisiveness on the part of the leadership to address the issue is worrying for state leaders. They point out to a similar situation in Assam where a group of legislators had raised a banner of revolt against chief minister Tarun Gogoi but the “dithering attitude” had forced the exit of many leaders, including former minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who recently joined the BJP.
This is not the first time that Rahul had met the legislators to seek their feedback.
He had met them in batches earlier also and the last such deliberations took place on February 2 this year. Rahul will meet another group of MLAs on October 12.
The state Congress leadership is worried that the intense factionalism might help the political opponents. Their fear is that the AAP could cut into Congress votes as happened in Delhi and emerge as a “viable alternative” to the Akali Dal-BJP combine.