After much flip-flop owing to factional feud in the Ludhiana Congress, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Partap Singh Bajwa is finally set to launch his ambitious and much-hyped 'mass contact programme' from the Ludhiana Central seat, represented by Congress MLA, Surender Dabar, from September 14.
The visit was earlier scheduled on August 21, but was put off after the so-called Manish Tewari faction raised their banner of protest against the PPCC chief.
Bajwa was scheduled to start his campaign from the Ludhiana North constituency represented by Congress MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu - who is understood to be anti-Tewari faction leader; while Dabar is considered as a neutral man.
Sources close to the party said ensuring Bajwa's visit from Dabar's areas is a move by the Tewari faction to show their dominance in the city ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in 2014.
In the meantime, cracks in the Ludhiana Congress re-surfaced on Friday during the visit of Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Sunil Jakhar, who was joined only by Ashu with the entire District Congress Committee (DCC) while other Congress MLAs and leaders chose to give a skip to the function.
However, DCC chief Pawan Diwan, a Tewari loyalist, claimed that they were not invited to the function.
Meanwhile, Ashu told Hindustan Times on Saturday that he had not organised the CLP leader's event, and he went to the function since the CLP leader had come. "The event was organised by the Women Congress," said Anshu, while taking a dig at DCC chief: "When CLP leader is in the city, I don't think anybody needs a special invitation. And thus, the criticism that I had not invited any leader to the CLP leader function was uncalled for; but I am happy with it too."
Ashu claimed that Bajwa's campaign from his constituency was called off, as he had gone to Vaishno Devi shrine at that time.
The rift between Tewari and Ashu is well known in the Ludhiana Congress circles. During the assembly elections last year, Tewari managed to get tickets to his loyalist and the present DCC chief.
But owing to pressure created by Ashu, the ticket was held back from Diwan and given to Ashu, who registered victory by a record margin of more than 35,000 votes.
According to the party insiders, both the Tewari and Ashu factions are planning to take up issues against each other with Bajwa during his campaign here.
However, Bajwa - who during his mass contact programme has also been preaching his party leaders unity in view of the upcoming polls - will have a tough time in Ludhiana when he will encounter with factional feud in the Ludhiana Congress.
Bajwa will visit Ludhiana West and Ludhiana North constituencies on September 21 and 22, respectively.
Though Diwan said the stage is being set and party cadres are being mobilised for the Bajwa's visit, but declined to comment over any change in the start of the programme.