Despite appeals by All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Shakeel Ahmed asking Congressmen not to go to the media with party issues, leaders on Sunday continued to air their grievances in public against Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Partap Singh Bajwa.
This time it was the turn of former Amritsar (urban) District Congress Committee (DCC) president Jugal Kishore Sharma and his supporters to trash the PPCC list of office-bearers. They claimed that they were feeling cheated that those who had opposed the party candidates in the last two assembly elections were accommodated in the PPCC.
Sharma quits PPCC post
Voicing his protest over the list, Sharma tendered his resignation from the working committee of the PPCC. He was accommodated in the working committee after being removed as the Amritsar DCC chief, a post on which he had served for seven years.
Sharma especially referred to the appointment of Joginder Pal Dhingra as PPCC general secretary. He said Dhingra had contested the 2007 assembly polls as a rebel Congress candidate after he was denied the ticket from Amritsar north constituency.
"Dhingra was responsible for my defeat in 2007. Just imagine that Dhingra who was then the Amritsar (urban) DCC chief had defied the party and stood as a rebel, an action which led to his expulsion from the party. Unfortunately, despite such anti-party activities, Bajwa decided to reward him and many others like him," stated Sharma while talking to the media here.
Ram Lal, another veteran Congressman, claimed that in the last municipal corporation Amritsar (MCA) polls, Dhingra had opposed him, which led to his defeat. He too expressed his anguish over Dhingra's inclusion in the PPCC.
New DCC chief unknown face
Turning to his successor, Rajeev Bhagat, Sharma said Bajwa had picked an unknown face to head one of the most important district committees. Bhagat had never contested an election and had made no contribution to the party, he added, while referring to his own long tenure in the Seva Dal and in the main wing of the Congress.
"Perhaps Bajwa rewarded Bhagat as he had deposed against former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh in the 32-acre Amritsar Improvement Trust (AIT) case before a Vidhan Sabha Committee," he claimed.
The AIT case probed by the Punjab Vigilance Bureau took place during the tenure of Amarinder as chief minister and when Sharma was the AIT chairman. The names of Amarinder and Sharma both figure in the case, which is currently being heard in court. Bhagat then was a nominated member of the AIT.
Brahmins ignored by Bajwa
Sharma went on to claim that Brahmins were ignored by Bajwa. He pointed out that of the 27 DCC presidents, not a single belonged to the community.
Sharma had avoided making this point when he, along with other senior leaders of the party, met at the house of AICC secretary and Batala MLA Ashwani Sekri here on Saturday.