The Punjab Congress is again witnessing an “uncivil” war between its state chief Partap Singh Bajwa and former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh. A day after Bajwa alleged in a press statement that Amarinder was all set to leave the Congress after splitting the party and joining hands with the BJP, the Amritsar MP hit back accusing Bajwa of showing “symptoms of schizophrenia”.
In a press statement before leaving for a private visit to London on Tuesday, the Congress deputy leader in Lok Sabha dismissed the claims and charges levelled by Bajwa against him as “schizophrenic symptoms of a man desperate for his own political survival”.
“It is natural for a failed and frustrated man like Bajwa to fulminate like this and clutch at the straw as he sees his removal imminent and inevitable. Had he spent as much energy and resources in working for the party as he is spending in hallucinating about my forming a new one, naming it and even imagining the date and place for its announcement, I am sure he would have been surely in a better and stable state of mind today. Bajwa can still do himself a favour by listing his achievements, if he has any, instead of writing my progress report and counting the pictures on the posters and banners put up in our rallies and still lying about these,” Amarinder said.
Taking a dig at Bajwa batting for Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, Amarinder said the ability and strength of a leader does not lie in being more loyal than the king but in the love and affection he received from the masses. “But he can never be loyal to anyone as deceit and betrayal is in his DNA. For the first time in the history of the state, a Congress president has repeatedly announced programmes and subsequently cancelled these after failing to get response from the workers. At one of the places in Ludhiana, he literally ran away midway from a party function to avoid the protesting party workers and addressed a press conference at a safe distance of 100 km in Chandigarh,” Amarinder claimed, adding that no state Congress president had proved so unpopular as Bajwa so much so that people had been telling him to keep away from their programmes and rallies.
Reacting to Bajwa’s statement that he should be expelled from the party, the Captain said Congress workers from all over Punjab had already pronounced the verdict on who deserved to be expelled by marking a mammoth presence in his (Capt Amarinder’s) political rallies while rejecting Bajwa. “It is hilarious for someone like Bajwa, who already stands expelled from the hearts and minds of people and the party workers, to seek my expulsion. Unfortunately, this man has spent all his energies in trying to be seen as more loyal than the king which is why he stands isolated and marginalised today in the party so much so that he could not retain even his own assembly segment, leave alone the parliamentary constituency,” Amarinder’s statement said.
Reacting to this, Bajwa said, “Amarinder is fuming as I have called his bluff six months in advance. Amarinder had decided to put his gameplan into action by March. Till then, he would have used the organisational base of the Congress to win the party’s rank and file to his side before finally dumping the party in April. Maal malakan da te mashuhri company di (Goods belong to the owner and the company reaps the goodwill). We have exposed his gameplan of going with the BJP. No wonder Amarinder never attended Parliament sessions. Instead of speaking against the BJP, he opposed the Congress stand on various issues. He was forever writing me off. It is he who should have been shown the door before his flight took off for London,” Bajwa told HT.