The first show of Asha Kumari, the newly appointed Congress in-charge of Punjab affairs, was marred by unruly scenes outside the Congress Bhawan here on Tuesday as a cautious party office tried to prevent unrestricted entry of overzealous workers.
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) meeting was held to welcome Kumari and introduce her to office-bearers. It was addressed by Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh, senior vice-president Lal Singh, campaign committee chief Ambika Soni and others. In her address, Asha said she did not know Punjabi but understands it. “You all will soon train me in Punjabi,” she added.
Soni hit out at those she said were alleging that the campaign committee was not working. “Our job is to support the campaign of Capt Amarinder as he is the face of the party. I can’t hold parallel programmes. No campaign decision is being taken without taking me into confidence,” she said.
While all speakers exhorted PPCC office-bearers to ensure grassroots connect, outside party workers were denied entry into the Congress Bhawan. After 36 vice-presidents and 96 general secretaries, the party recently appointed around 350 secretaries. However, party insiders say no list was issued but they were called to collect their appointment letters from the office. A woman secretary from Ropar was seen claiming outside the gate that she be allowed entry as she had been appointed a secretary but has not got her appointment letter.
More drama ensued as media too was barred from entering the office and later the car of Congress Legislature Party leader Charanjit Channi was not allowed in and one of the office attendants entered into a scuffle with driver of senior leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. Even Banga MLA Tarlochan Singh Soondh raised objection to workers being debarred from entering the Congress Bhawan saying, “If the Congress worker cannot enter his own party office, who is it for.” The commotion outside ended after the gates were opened for Amarinder’s convoy.
Internal forces behind Quran sacrilege: Capt
Amarinder denied foreign hand in the sacrilege of Quran at Malerkotla. “Internal forces are responsible for sacrilege of Quran. The guilty should be put behind bars,” he said.