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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

No move to change state Cong leadership: Shakeel Ahmed

Manpreet Randhawa, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, July 16, 2014
First Published: 08:29 IST(16/7/2014) | Last Updated: 08:37 IST(16/7/2014)

Congress general secretary in charge of Punjab affairs Shakeel Ahmed on Tuesday ruled out changes in the party’s leadership in the state post debacle in the Lok Sabha elections, as party vice-president Rahul Gandhi received the Shandil Committee analysis report.

There was no proposal under consideration to replace the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief or the state Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader, Ahmed made it clear to the media after addressing first post-election meeting of the PPCC at Congress Bhawan here.

Asked what action was planned against party’s Lok Sabha deputy leader Captain Amarinder Singh and his loyalist legislators Kewal Singh Dhillon and Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi who had sought the resignation of PPCC president Partap Singh Bajwa after the election debacle, Ahmed said the state disciplinary committee had issued a notice to both legislators already.

“They have given us their explanation in writing and the party is satisfied with the same largely.

At the PPCC meeting today, both were present. We are on course to resolving all major internal issues,” said Ahmed, adding that in the past 20 days, no one from the party had issued any statement against the state Congress leadership.

Asked if Bajwa would be projected as next CM in 2017, Ahmed said it was too early to decide. “There is no dearth of leadership in Punjab: Bajwa, Amarinder or Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. The party has to first win the elections,” he further said.

The Punjab Congress plans massive protest in all district headquarters on July 23 against the electricity crisis in the state. Addressing the meeting, Congress secretary Harish Chaudhary said Punjab’s socalled police campaign against drug menace was a sham, while Bajwa talked about “the total collapse of administration, with corruption rampant at every level”.

He attacked chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for his singling out bureaucracy for corruption, saying corruption flowed from top and that was where the clean-up had to start. “If the political rulers are honest, the bureaucracy will not dare to be corrupt,” he said, suggesting that Badal had accepted his moral defeat in running the administration cleanly, and so, he should quit.

State CLP leader Sunil Jakhar said people were fed up with the policies of the Akali-BJP government.

SETBACK ASSESSED

A five-member committee led by Himachal Pradesh cabinet minister Col Dhani Ram Shandil (retd) has assessed how the Congress performed in the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab and given the report to party vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Shakeel Ahmed has said.

The party high command had formed the assessment committee that submitted its final report to the senior leadership on Monday.

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