Amid the tussle for one-upmanship going on in the Punjab unit of the Congress, its deputy leader in Lok Sabha and Amritsar MP Capt Amarinder Singh is all set to kick-start his rallies as a show of strength from Wednesday, with the first one at Jalandhar Cantonment.
Since the rally being organised by former MLA and Jalandhar (rural) District Congress Committee chief Jagbir Brar is set to hot up political activity in the state, especially within the Congress, political leaders are closely watching these rallies whose first phase would end on July 10.
Apart from throwing a direct challenge to Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa, who is currently touring the state for his mass contact programmes, the rallies by Amarinder will also give jitters to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
Close associates of the former chief minister said Amarinder would target the Badal family and its alleged misrule at these rallies.
A former minister working closely with Amarinder said, “Since there has been a misconception in recent past that Amarinder is going soft on the Badal family, the former chief minister is set to launch a scathing attack on chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and SAD president and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. The plan is to shed that tag as it has dented his image of slamming the Badals.”
Since the Congress high command will also closely monitor these rallies tipped to be a ‘make-or-break’ effort by Amarinder to press the party to remove Bajwa, the attendance of leaders at these rallies would be a key point.
Amarinder is organising the first show of strength in Jalandhar Cantonment, the constituency nurtured by Brar, whom Bajwa had appointed the DCC chief. The Amritsar MP is trying to challenge Bajwa’s authority as he has reportedly issued a notice to Brar for his statement over supporting Amarinder in case he floats a separate party.
Amarinder also intends to regain the lost ground for the Congress in the scheduled caste-dominated Doaba region, which has always been crucial in the formation of the Congress-led state governments.
Brar said he was yet to get a notice and came to know of this from the media only.
Sources said that to ensure the presence of all senior leaders of Doaba, messages had been sent to them. They said Jalandhar MP Santokh Chaudhary, in order to ensure his presence, had cancelled his meeting with the Union aviation minister.
The rally is being organised at a marriage palace at Dheena village on the outskirts of Jalandhar.