The Congress on Monday expelled senior leader Jagmeet Singh Brar — a detractor of its Punjab unit president Captain Amarinder Singh and an admirer of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) — three days after it kicked out Bir Devinder Singh, former deputy speaker of the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. Brar hit back with the announcement of a rally at Chappar Chiri near SAS Nagar (Mohali) on May 21.
He lost primary membership of the Congress for “indiscipline and working against the party’s interest in Punjab” that goes to polls in less than a year. Amarinder had to go via the high command to get him expelled, since a state unit president can’t expel an All-India Congress Committee (AICC) member.
Brar reacted strongly: “Amarinder wants everyone to polish his shoes like the other sycophants but I have my own standing in the state. He is a bulldozer razing his own people.”
On his Twitter account on Monday, Brar first posted around 1.30pm on Monday: “I have just received mail of General Secretary Shakeel Ahmad expelling me from the primary membership of the party. Condemned without hearing.” An hour later he declared that he would deliver an “important address for Punjabiyat” on May 21, Saturday, at Chappar Chiri. He posted another tweet that he would “show the world that Punjab has the talent” at the gathering, adding that it would be the “best speech of his lifetime”. He further tweeted that he would cover 60 assembly seats “to bring people for the gathering”.
Around 4pm, he also posted a picture with the caption saying that, “exactly when expelled”, he was with sitting with the widows and children of two brothers who had committed suicide.
I have just received mail of General Secretary Shakeel Ahmad expelling me from the primary membership of the party.Condemned without hearing— Jagmeet Singh Brar (@jagmeetbrar7) April 11, 2016
After the expulsion 117/ AC/meet on 21st May/16 Saturday on Budh Purnima at Chhaperchri near Mohali. Important address for Punjabiyat.— Jagmeet Singh Brar (@jagmeetbrar7) April 11, 2016
I will show the world that Punjab has the talent on 21st may 2016 gathering. It will be bast speech of my lifetime. I assure brothers/ S.— Jagmeet Singh Brar (@jagmeetbrar7) April 11, 2016
By 21s, May 2016, I will cover 60 Assembly seats to bring people for the gathering at Chhapperchree.— Jagmeet Singh Brar (@jagmeetbrar7) April 11, 2016
Sitting with widows, infants of two real brothers Anil, Vinod who committed suicide, Exactly when expelled. pic.twitter.com/fvpgkvOLqS— Jagmeet Singh Brar (@jagmeetbrar7) April 11, 2016
Amarinder emerges strong
But the two evictions will help Amarinder regain his grip on the party after the high command had turned down his Rajya Sabha nominees in favour of former state party presidents Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo, who are considered his bitter rivals. “Everyone in the Congress is heaving a sigh of relief. Both Bir Devinder and Brar were damaging the party and taking it too far,” said Captain.
Brar and Bir Devinder share the All-India Sikh Student Federation (AISSF) background, a talent for oratory, and now the same fate for their outbursts against Amarinder and the party over the past few days. “I have been condemned without hearing,” Brar said, echoing his posts on Twitter through the day, adding: “There is no point now in meeting party president Sonia Gandhi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.”
This is not the first time Brar has faced party action. In 2014, he was suspended for daring to suggest introspection of the Lok Sabha election defeat and advise Sonia and Rahul to go on a sabbatical. In August 2015, Sonia Gandhi revoked his suspension. Brar claims he didn’t get any notice from the party, but Congress general secretary and Punjab affairs in-charge Shakeel Ahmad said: “Brar was issued a show-cause notice on March 29 and he sent us three replies on March 30.”
“Even after messaging ‘uttered not a single word today’, you kept tweeting comments against the party,” reads the expulsion order from Ahmad. Brar, who condemned Bir Devinder’s expulsion as Amarinder’s revenge, said he had received the letter “only just” and asked his supporters from 60 assembly seats to gather at Chappar Chiri. Asked if he would join the AAP, he said: “So far, I am not in touch with any party. I praised the AAP becasue I saw it taking up issues concerning Punjabis, and that has not gone well with the Congress. Rest, wait for May 21.”
3 meetings with Kishor last week
Before being shunted out, Jagmeet Brar claimed, he had three meetings with Congress poll strategist Prashant Kishor in Delhi last week. “Kishor asked me what can be done for the party’s unity. I told him he had an illustrious record of winning elections but he might not be able to keep it intact in Punjab owing to Amarinder’s style of functioning,” Brar told HT. Kishor had met Bir Devinder also before the party cracked the whip on him.
Was taking it too far: Capt
Amarinder welcomed the expulsion of Brar, saying: “It was important. Brar was getting more and more defiant and sending out wrong signals at a critical moment, creating confusion among the party ranks. We gave him a long rope, hoping he’d mend his ways.” Captain further said: “We were wrong and we should have read his death wish the moment he looked set to commit political suicide. He scripted his own expulsion over the last three months by slighting his own party and praising our opponents. His ouster will convey it to the others that nobody is above the party and its discipline is supreme.”
Brar brother Ripjit rips into Captain
After his brother and former MP Jagmeet Singh Brar’s expulsion from the Congress, party’s former MLA Ripjit Singh Brar ripped into state unit chief captain Amarinder Singh on Twitter on Monday. Ripjit, who remained legislator from Kotkapura (2007-12) alleged that Amarinder had first arm-twisted Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi (into making him state chief n place of Partap Singh Bajwa), then “betrayed” Sunil Jakhar, who was earlier Congress Legislature Party leader, and ridiculed Charanjit Singh Channi, who replaced Jakhar as CLP leader in the Punjab Vidhan Sabha. (inputs from HTC, Chandigarh)