Local MLA Bharat Bhushan Ashu’s appointment as deputy leader of the Punjab Congress Legislature Party (CLP) has evoked mixed response in party circles. Ashu had been extending support to then state unit chief Partap Singh Bajwa, who was replaced by Capt Amarinder Singh last month.
A senior party leader, requesting anonymity, said, “Ashu’s elevation is a step towards wooing Hindu voters.” He added that the post of deputy CLP leader had been created for this purpose.
It is learnt that Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu backed Ashu’s case before Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Ashu had been at loggerheads with then Congress MP Manish Tewari. When Tewari opted out of the 2014 parliamentary elections and the party picked Bittu to contest from Ludhiana, Ashu had gone all out in support of the latter.
Talking to HT, he said, “I am honoured to have been picked for this post and I promise to deliver. Keeping differences aside, almost all party leaders and workers will extend support to Capt Amarinder Singh.”
The Ludhiana West MLA added that he would meet party leaders and workers who were unhappy with him as this was the time to unite and perform.
An anti-Bajwa group led by former district Congress president Pawan Dewan refused to comment on Ashu’s elevation.