The start of the IInd phase of the mass contact programme by All India Congress Committee general secretary and Punjab affairs incharge Shakeel Ahmed and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Partap Singh Bajwa from Jalalabad could be a game-changer, sources have claimed.
Punjab deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal represents the constituency in the assembly.
The workers in the area have been complaining for long that there was no one to address their grievances within the Congress, a senior Congress leader said on the condition of anonymity.
A veteran Congressmen from the region, Ravi Chawla, said that the majority of the state Congress leadership has remained aloof and distant as Sukhbir won the byelection and last assembly polls.
Another leader said that due to this attitude, a number of Congress leaders had either left Congress or gone underground.
Party leaders said that Congress nominee for the assembly polls in Jalalabad, Malkiat Singh Hira, was booked under the immoral trafficking act by the police and yet the leadership did not rise to the occasion.
"Bajwa's tea and dinner diplomacy has revived some hope of a Congress comeback. He is going to rural areas in Jalalabad and interacting with the public," said Congress MLA from Ferozepur Parminder Singh Pinki,
"It is important to enhance the morale of workers at the grassroots level," said Anumeet Hira Sodhi, former vice-president, Punjab Youth Congress.
"This interaction must continue to have any long-term impact. It must not be a one-off thing," said Hariinder Virk, a youth activist.
"There is anger against the SAD-BP regime, but we need to convert this into action and ensure that Congress gets some electoral victories under its best," said Hans Raj Jossan, former minister, who turned rebel candidate when denied ticket in the last polls. Now, he is back with the Congress.
"Anybody who has tried to raise his voices against the atrocities of the government has been implicated in a false case," PPCC chief Partap Bajwa told HT.
"Jalalabad has had no development even after being represented by deputy chief minister," alleged Bajwa.
He said that he had sought a detailed report on fake cases registered against Congressmen, so that some action could be taken.