A day after two former Punjab Congress chiefs — Rajya Sabha MPs Partap Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo — attacked party’s state president Captain Amarinder Singh over inducting “turncoats” into the party and allotting them tickets, he welcomed some more leaders from the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) into the party fold on Monday.
Amarinder also used the occasion to remind Bajwa about those he got from other parties to contest as Congress candidates when he was at the helm of affairs. “Manpreet Badal, then president of the People’s Party of Punjab, from Bathinda as Congress candidate and Simar Pratap Singh Barnala, grandson of Surjit Singh Barnala, was the joint candidate of the Congress and the Sanjha Morcha for the Dhuri byelection in 2015. There is nothing unusual about the possibility of giving tickets to new entrants. In fact, the influx of people into the party shows which way the wind is blowing,” Amarinder said.
Showing he had backing of the party high command, Amarinder said it was party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s prerogative to allot tickets for the forthcoming assembly elections.
The former CM said all sitting MLA would be given tickets though there may be shuffling on some seats.
To a question on the Bains brothers joining the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Amarinder said the Punjab Congress had not been in talks to rope them in the party, and added that he had only met one of the brothers about six months ago, with no further contact thereafter.
Those who joined the Congress on Monday included SAD leader and formerIAS officer Balbir Sidhu, Soni Ghalib, son of former MP Gurcharan Singh Ghalib, and Olympian and AAP member Surinder Singh Sodhi.