The Congress in Punjab abandoned its plans of holding a farmers’ rally later this month in view of party vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s leave of absence and uncertainty over the continuation of Partap Singh Bajwa as the state unit chief.
Bajwa had last month announced that Gandhi would address a ‘Kisan and Mazdoor’ rally at Moga on March 29.
The rally was billed as a launch pad for Gandhi’s nationwide agitation against the BJP-led government’s policies on farm, land and labour reforms, issues the Congress thinks will help it reconnect with its eroding support base.
Congress sources said fresh date could be announced only after Gandhi’s return from sabbatical and once there was clarity on Bajwa’s fate.
The proposed rally at Moga was also touted as a show of strength for Bajwa in the wake of his long-running tussle with former Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh.
While Amarinder claimed that Congress graph was on down under Bajwa, the state unit chief hit back blaming him for the party’s two successive defeats in 2007 and 2012 assembly elections.
The feud prompted Congress high command to rush party general secretary Shakeel Ahmad to Punjab to prepare a report on the leadership issue after taking feedback from all factions.
Sitting and former legislators apart from other leaders are learned to have said that any delay in the change of guard in the Punjab Congress would prove “disastrous” for the party and could benefit the Aam Aadmi Party.