Two days after former Congress minister Avtar Henry was declared ineligible to contest polls after his vote was cancelled following dual citizenship charges, the senior Congress leader held an impressive show of strength on Saturday.
In keeping with the third list of the Congress which is expected on January 9, Henry under a well crafted political strategy, signalled to his political opponents within the party that he was not going to sit ideally if denied ticket and will field his son independently.
The former Congress minister, who has remained four times MLA from Jalandhar North, managed to bring all senior Congress leaders from the segment.The leaders invited included sitting councillors, former councillors and prominent workers to show that he still shares clout in the segment.
With the reports indicating that the former Jalandhar Improvement Trust chairman, Tejinder Bittu may replace as Bittu’s candidature is said to be backed by Priyanka Gandhi, Henry without taking names said, how can the leaders who are not even from the segment and have been close to the SAD leadership can serve the Congress workers. “It’s a public fact that one of the claimant is close to the SAD leadership and even invites them in their marriages and other social functions,” said Henry. “I have been serving you since last three decades and anybody can tell if I have ever been found indulging in any sort of corruption,” said Henry getting stupendous response from the workers.
Terming the episode of cancellation of his vote as a ‘political conspiracy’ by his opponents within the Congress, opponents from other parties and BJP MLA from North segment KD Bhandari, Henry asked the public that what was his sin that the government went on to cut his vote. Trying to strike an emotional chord, the former Congress minister said, “By cancelling my ticket my political opponents are trying to say that I am not Indian.”
“I have remained an MLA four times. My whole family including my son have been serving people,” said Henry. “I will not stop, come what may,” said Henry, claiming that upon getting a chance, he will not spare the people who conspired against him.
The idea to project Henry’s son Bawa Henry (original name also Avtar Henry) was given by councillors. Many speakers while quoting the names of Bittu and former MLA Raj Kumar Gupta, said both the leaders were like migratory birds.
“They are migratory birds who are coming here to settle their political career but let me tell them, we will spoil their chances if the Congress high- command preferred them,” said councillor Des Raj Jassal. Henry, however, did not demand ticket for his son directly. “It’s the Congress high command that has to respect the sentiment of the workers,” said Henry.