Captain Amarinder Singh's first visit to the Malwa region after being removed as Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief received a lukewarm response by the local leadership, on Sunday.
Amarinder, a permanent invitee to the Congres Working Committee, visited Baba Sukhdev Singh at Dera Rumi Wala Bhucho Mandi, 15 km from the town.
Bhucho Congress MLA Ajaib Singh Bhatti and Rural Congress district president Narinder Singh Bhulleria were the only two local leaders to receive Amarinder, even as the local leadership was made aware of the visit on Saturday.
However, Malwa zone Congress vice-president Gurpreet Singh Kangar expressed surprise over the visit.
"I have just received information that Captain Amarinder Singh wanted to visit Dera Romi Wala after concluding his program at Barnala. However, I am attending a marriage in Chandigarh. I will not be able to receive Amarinder," said Kangar.
Kangar has been called Anarinder's loyalist in the past by PPCC chief Partap Singh Bajwa.
"It was a personal, social, religious and non-political visit. It was my duty to receive him as local MLA from Bhucho," said Ajaib Singh Bhatti.
MP Arvind Khanna and MLA Kewal Singh Dhillon also accompanied Amarinder to Bhucho from Barnala.
Amarinder spent an hour at the Dera with Baba Sukhdev Singh, who has considerable following with the Jatt Sikh Community in the region.
"I will visit procurement centres across the state. Punjab is a big state and the Congress party leadership is required to work collectively."
On his relationship with Bajwa, he claimed that Congress was a big party and opposing views on some issue were natural and expected.
VISITS BARNALA GRAIN MARKET
Barnala: Amarinder, accompanied by Barnala MLA, Kewal Singh Dhillon, visited the local grain market and took stock of paddy procurement status in the region.
Amarinder also visited Dhillon's residence to meet party workers, but no rally was staged. He claimed that the state government was not allowing a central team formed to analyse the position of damage and discoloration in paddy, to work freely. He added paddy that was being sold to neighboring states was a loss to the state as well as to the farmers. He claimed that the logic given for imposition of property tax was unconvincing.
Dhillon claimed that during Amarinder's tenure, crop procurement was a smoother affair.
More than five party workers complained of being pick-pocketed within the rush. There were frequent announcements from the small stage that pick-pocketers could retain cash in purses as their reward, but must return the documents.