Ahead of state unit restructuring, Rahul meets Punjab MLAs | punjab$regional-takes | Hindustan Times
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Ahead of state unit restructuring, Rahul meets Punjab MLAs

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi today met a group of legislators from Punjab ahead of the restructuring and leadership change in the party state unit.

punjab Updated: Oct 13, 2015 00:17 IST
Most of the MLAs who met the Congress vice-president today are believed to be loyal to former chief minister Amarinder Singh.
Most of the MLAs who met the Congress vice-president today are believed to be loyal to former chief minister Amarinder Singh.(Livemint Photo)

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Monday met a group of legislators from Punjab ahead of the restructuring and leadership change in the party state unit.

Congress sources said that Gandhi interacted with the MLAs freely, and sought their suggestions for strengthening the organisation in Punjab and improving the party’s prospects in the assembly polls slated for early 2017. Most of the MLAs who met the Congress vice-president today are believed to be loyal to former chief minister Amarinder Singh.

Former deputy chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, who is also seeking a leadership change and unity among leaders, also met the party vice-president.

Singh, who returned from abroad on Sunday, held a luncheon meeting with the MLAs loyal to him, in a bid to display his influence. Many legislators attended the lunch hosted by him.

Singh would soon be meeting Congress chief Sonia Gandhi ahead of a final announcement on the restructuring, which was necessitated by demands for replacement of Partap Singh Bajwa as the party chief.

Meanwhile, Gandhi will be meeting party’s district unit presidents from tomorrow and seek their opinion on who could lead the party to victory in the next assembly polls. During the one-to-one meetings today with around 18 legislators, Gandhi sought their views on whom to hand over the party reins.

The sources said the Congress high command is toying with the idea of naming former Union minister Ambika Soni as Punjab Congress chief, replacing Bajwa, to end differences in the party unit. A section within the Congress has, however, been demanding that Singh be handed over the command ahead of the crucial assembly polls.

Both the Congress president and the vice-president had earlier held several rounds of discussions with various party leaders including Singh.

The Congress leadership is learnt to be keen on holding another round of consultations with the party leaders from Punjab, before taking a final decision on the matter. The meetings came in the wake of reports that Singh was not happy with the arrangements being worked out by the party leadership.

Congress, which was defeated by the Akali-BJP combine in the state twice in 2007 and 2012 assembly polls, is keen to come back to power.