A day after the rejig of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), voices of dissent over the new team of state president Captain Amarinder Singh grew louder with many questioning “why did the party need a whopping 36 vice-presidents and that too not all deserving.”
While the appointment of recent Akali-turned-Congress leader Hans Raj Hans as vice-president has raised the hackles of leaders in Doaba, party veterans are alleging those part of the “liquor and sand mafia” have been rewarded with plum posts.
“The Congress talks about eradicating liquor and sand mafia and at least three MLAs appointed in the PPCC as vice-presidents --- Rana Gurjit, Rana Gurmeet Sodhi and Sukh Sarkaria --- and one appointed as treasurer, Kamaljit Dhillon, have distilleries. The latter also is named for links with the sand mafia in Ropar,” said senior Congress leader Amarjit Tikka.
“Former minister Gurchet Bhullar’s son Sukhpal Bhullar, district Congress president of Tarn Taran, too has links with sand mafia and so does Gurmail Singh Pahalwan, who has been appointed as a general secretary. Congress and Akali leaders are together part of the liquor and sand syndicate running in Punjab,” he added.
He also alleged that over 80 berths have gone to Jat Sikhs ignoring urban Sikhs such as Aroras, Khatris and Kohlis.
“When the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) can give 10 seats in Delhi elections to these communities, why is Congress, which is predominantly an urban party giving them just three posts in the state executive in a Sikh-dominated state,” he said.
‘Slots to those without voter-base’
Senior party leaders in Doaba said the revamped state body has given top slots to those without mass base. “History is testimony to the fact that it is Doaba that has helped the Congress form government in Punjab. This list has shamelessly ignored merit to adjust people without a mass base. Taksali, dyed-in-Congress-wool leaders, have been ignored to give berths to turncoats like Hans Raj Hans. Will workers be enthused to fight elections with leaders who have no mass appeal,” said former district president of Jalandhar Manjinder Singh Chaudhary.
Other than having an army of vice-presidents and general secretaries, the list has allotted nearly two dozen top slots to Dalit leaders, including five each from Balmiki and Ramdasia leaders. As many Christains and Muslims too have got berths in the PPCC to ensure all castes and communities get representation.
Youth list based on kinship
Though keeping with Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s promise to allot over 40 percent tickets to youth, the oarty has given nearly 25 percent berths to those below 45 as general secretaries and executive members, most who have made it to the list are kin of sitting and former MPs and MLAs. Many more youth, party sources said, would be part of the list of over 300 secretaries and block presidents to be released by the PPCC soon.
DCC chiefs who switched loyalty from Bajwa to Captain get to stay
The new list of 26 Congress district presidents -- that of Ropar and Nawashehar are pending -- announced on Saturday has 12 new names. Interestingly, those who had switched their loyalty to Amarinder from Partap Bajwa, got to stay such as Gurpreet Gogi of Ludhiana (urban), Bikram Mofar of Mansa and Mohan Lal (Bathinda urban). DCC (Ludhiana rural) president Malkit Dhaka, who had switched loyalty to Bajwa and returned to Captain’s fold, has been ekevated as a vice-president. Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur, Amritsar urban Kapurthala, Ludhiana rural,
Moga, Ferozepur, Fazilka, Bathinda rural, Barnala and Sangrur have new district Congress committee presidents.