In an indication that Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa could continue on the post despite demands for his removal, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday gave a green signal to his padyatra against the Akali Dal-BJP government from October 2.
Rahul’s nod has come as a breather to Bajwa who has been engaged in a bitter verbal duel with his predecessor and former Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh – ever since Bajwa was appointed the Punjab Congress chief in March 2013.
While Amarinder claims that the Congress graph was on the downslide in Punjab under his leadership, Bajwa blames the former CM for the party’s two successive defeats in 2007 and 2012 assembly elections.
Amarinder, who has been demanding Bajwa’s ouster, is set to meet Rahul Gandhi on Friday. A section of Congress legislators and senior leaders have been demanding that Bajwa be replaced with Amarinder, arguing the party’s revival in Punjab largely hinges on handing over the reins of the organisation to the former CM.
Starting from Pathankot, the proposed 1000-km padyatra (foot march) will cover the state in six phases and conclude at Amritsar. In each phase, the yatra will be undertaken for 15 days.
Bajwa said Rahul would join the padyatra and that the date and venue would be finalised later. Bajwa briefed the Congress V-P about his ongoing mass contact programme that started from Sri Hargobindpur on June 2 and would conclude on September 28.
“It is heartening to see the response to our mass mobilisation programme against the degenerated and corrupt rule of the Akali Dal-BJP alliance in Punjab,” Bajwa said.