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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Badal extends olive branch to new Punjab Cong chief

PTI  Chandigarh, March 07, 2013
First Published: 21:34 IST(7/3/2013) | Last Updated: 13:08 IST(8/3/2013)

Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Thursday held out an olive branch to newly appointed state Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa and at the same time expressed displeasure over the manner in which his predecessor Amarinder Singh was removed from the post.

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"I am prepared to meet Bajwa wherever he wishes so that Opposition works in unison with the state government for the betterment of Punjab," Badal told reporters here.

A day after he described Bajwa's appointment as "old wine in a new bottle," he hoped that Bajwa would work for ending the bitterness between the Opposition and Akalis.

He, however, expressed displeasure at the manner in which Amarinder was shown the door by the Congress High Command.

"I am not happy with the manner Congress treated Amarinder. He was a former chief minister and had remained Punjab Congress chief twice," he said.

"One day you sleep as a state party chief and find in the morning that he remains an MLA only.

"This is not the way the Congress should have treated a leader of Amarinder's stature," he said.

Amarinder Singh had yesterday said that had he been consulted, he would have suggested a different name to replace him.

Singh was replaced by Gurdaspur MP Pratap Singh Bajwa as the new president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.

"I was not consulted on the decision. Had I been consulted, I would have suggested a different name who could lead the party at this crucial time," Singh had said.

Meanwhile, Bajwa will be installed as new party chief on March 19.

Bajwa said his priority would be to publish all material of centrally sponsored schemes and funds on which the SAD-BJP alliance government was "surviving" in Punjab and circulate it to every house so that people could know about the major flagship programmes.

"I will try to reestablish connection at grassroots workers (level) and senior leaders which has gone missing to a certain extent in the recent past," he said.

This missing link needs to be bridged so as to meet the expectations for which the party high command has entrusted him the new responsibility, he said.

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