The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee on Friday expelled senior party leader and former deputy speaker Bir Devinder Singh from the primary membership of the party for six years for creating indiscipline. In reaction, another Congress leader who has been walking a thin line over intra-party discipline, Jagmeet Brar, termed it a result of “vendetta”.
The three-member committee constituted to look into the allegations of indiscipline against Devinder on Thursday had recommended that he be expelled from the party. The panel, headed by MLA Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, termed Devinder as “traitor” and “overambitious”. The panel recommended Devinder’s expulsion “to set an example that personal ambitions won’t be accommodated at the cost of party prospects,” sources said.
Devinder was recently suspended after he had a war of words with Punjab Congress chief Capt Amarinder Singh. Devinder hoped to resolve the issue and had recently met party poll strategist Prashant Kishor. But, the high command asked Amarinder to act against indiscipline. Following the panel’s recommendation, Amarinder, in consultation with the party high command, issued the expulsion order.
In reply to Devinder’s claim that he didn’t receive the suspension order and summons to appear before the committee, Amarinder has mentioned the three email IDs of the former speaker where the mails had been sent. “You (Bir Devinder) acknowledged the receipt of the suspension notice in your frequent interaction with media,” reads Amarinder’s order.
The Punjab Congress chief also criticised Devinder for issuing statements against the probe panel. “Instead of appearing before the committee to explain as to why you should not be expelled from the party, you continued to use the print media against the committee. The committee has unanimously recommended that in view of this gross indiscipline, you should be expelled from the party,” read Amarinder’s order.
When contacted, Bir Devinder said he would react at the right time and at the right platform. “So far, I have not received any suspension letter, nor any expulsion order; so I won’t comment,” he said.
Action smacks of vendetta: Brar
Reacting to the expulsion, rebel Congress leader Jagmeet Singh Brar tweeted, “Bir Devinder’s expulsion from the party is not in good taste, and smacks of personal vendetta and highhandedness by Amarinder.” Brar has also openly criticised Amarinder in the past on various issues.
The war of words had erupted between Bir Devinder and Captain after Devinder’s article in Hindustan Times said the party leadership was “inaccessible and incommunicado.”
Amarinder, in a counter write-up in HT , rebutted the charges.
Later, Devinder alleged that “Amarinder had offered him a ministerial berth in lieu of signing an affidavit that would bail him out of the Amritsar Improvement Trust case.”
Bir Devinder claimed that when he denied to sign the document, the PPCC president started targeting him.