Pushed to oblivion since his suspension from the Congress almost a year ago, former Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Jagmeet Brar is back into reckoning after party president Sonia Gandhi on Friday revoked his suspension.
Brar, who defeated Shiromani Akali Dal's Sukhbir Singh Badal to represent Faridkot in Parliament in 1999, was placed under suspension for his "anti-party" remarks after the Lok Sabha elections in 2014. Brar had suggested that Sonia and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi go on a sabbatical to introspect on the reasons for the party's worst performance in the parliamentary elections.
He had blamed disconnect between the party leadership and workers for the Congress rout and wanted Sonia and Rahul to reach out to party workers.
A contender for the post of Punjab Congress president in 2013, Brar was left out in the cold for about a year and had been flirting with the BJP and later sending feelers to the Aam Aadmi Party, but was not successful in gaining entry into either party. Finally, he decided to knock at the door of the Congress again.
Expressing gratitude for revocation of his suspension, Brar said he had met Sonia and Rahul to clear "misunderstandings" between them and the decision reflects their "able" leadership.
New contender on the block
Brar, who was unhappy with the party high command for being sidelined, also pitched himself as an alternative to the warring factions in the Punjab Congress. "With this decision, both leaders (Sonia and Rahul) have expressed their full faith in my ability to contribute towards helping the Congress sail through in 2017 assembly polls," he said in a statement.
Brar said Sonia and Rahul have genuine desire to promote unity in the party, particularly in Punjab, and the state leaders should unite to rid the state of "Akali termite" and "communal" BJP.
In a statement, Bajwa welcomed revoking of Brar's suspension. "He has been soldier of the party and this would further strengthen the party in Punjab in the coming Vidhan Sabha polls," Bajwa said.
Amarinder, who has no love lost for Brar and had opposed appointment of both Bajwa and Brar as his successors in 2013, did not react to the development. MLAs owing allegiance to Amarinder camp, too, refrained from welcoming Brar back into the party fold except MLA Charanjit Channi who said the move would strengthen the party in Punjab.