Attempting to get his supporters around and strengthen his position in the party after the setback in the recently-held parliamentary elections, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Partap Singh Bajwa has opted to kick off his tour to all the parliamentary constituencies of the state from the Bathinda constituency, which is not only considered a stronghold of the Badals, but also of his political rival within the party Captain Amarinder Singh. Bajwa, who reached here on Wednesday, said it would not only be a thanksgiving tour, but he would also meet the Congress workers, who were victims of post-election violence and against whom fake cases were registered.
He also expressed interest in collecting first-hand information on forming mohalla committees to find the candidates for local body elections which are due in several parts of the state, including Bathinda. Bajwa will spend three days here, maximum in any constituency in the state.
Captain Amarinder Singh has not addressed any political gathering in Bathinda parliamentary constituency since he was replaced by Bajwa as PCC president in 2013.
Captain was expected to visit Bathinda after his outstanding victory in Amritsar, but has so far failed to do so. However, Bajwa, who lost his home seat in the Lok Sabha elections, has taken the lead. After Captain was elected MP, his loyalists, including an MLA, were not in favour of more Bajwa’s current tour and watd Captain to visit the constituency.
However, as Bajwa has remained a frequent visitor to this high-profile constituency since his appointment as PPCC chief, he has been receiving warm welcome in different parts of the constituency.
Ticket-seekers for Talwandi Sabo byelection have also been approaching him. Bathinda rural and urban unit presidents Gora Singh Tungwali and Mohan Singh Jumba and Bathinda parliamentary constituency youth wing president Kushbaz Singh Jattana at the helm of affairs to arrange Bajwa’s tour.
Taking on Badals, he said, “We have an opportunity. I call upon the Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal that as Talwandi Sabo has one of the five Takhts of Sikhs, Damdma Sahib, both parties should take a pledge at the Damdama Sahib that no one will use drugs to win the byelection here.”
“It will be an honest start to fight drugs. I am ready for this. But can CM afford to take this pledge?” Bajwa asked.
He said, “We all know that if Badal was honest about the so-called anti-drug drive, then he must have called for a CBI inquiry into the drug haul case after the change of the government at the Centre.”
“Earlier, Punjab CM used to call Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as Congress Bureau of Investigation to deny a CBI probe in the drug haul case. But now there is Modi government at the Centre and the CM must retain confidence in the CBI. So, at least now he should go in for a CBI inquiry.”