Another rebellion greeted Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa on New Year. In a letter to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Punjab Mahila Congress former president Ratna gave vent to her anger over the new Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) list that excludes her name.
Three senior leaders already have trashed the list. "It's regrettable that senior Congress women who braved bullets during militancy and sacrificed to keep the party flag high when no one dared to challenge the terrorists have been ignored in the formation of the new PPCC," now Ratna has written. On Wednesday, the letter's copies were released to the media here.
Taking a cue from current state Mahila Congress president Malti Thapar, Ratna took exception to women's getting mere 8% representation on the committee. She referred to a similar point in 1985, when the-then prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, had intervened to appoint her general secretary of the PPCC "to give women due representation in state politics". "I have been active in carrying the message of the party's senior leaders to the masses," she wrote.
On Tuesday, Malti Thapar was unhappy that only women legislators had found place on the new committee, and women who had served the party for long been left out. Ratna is not only long-time member of the Congress but also one-time head of its women's wing in the state. One of the most senior leaders of the party (men included) from Amritsar, she had failed to get even the assembly election ticket.
Close to former union minister and former Kerala governor RL Bhatia, Ratna had to be content with being a member of the PPCC, a privilege that has been snatched from her now. She was PPCC's general secretary thrice before her becoming state Mahila Congress president in the last term of Captain Amarinder Singh as PPCC president (from 2008 to 2011). A former chairperson of Amritsar Improvement Trust, she also was chairperson of Punjab Women's and Child Development Corporation and Punjab State Social Board when Amarinder was chief minister.
Ratna has appealed to Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to get "senior leaders with excellent pro-active record" into important roles to revive the party and bring it back to power in the coming Lok Sabha elections. She joins Malti Thapar, former minister Jagmohan Singh Kang, and former Ludhiana urban Congress president KK in opposing the list. Kang had threatened to resign as party's general secretary, saying that in appointing him to that post, Bajwa had ignored his seniority.