Noting that his removal as Punjab Congress chief “will not be a big price” if the party wins the 2017 Assembly election, Partap Singh Bajwa on Tuesday asked his successor Amarinder Singh to “work hard” and “fight as one” to win the high-stake polls.
Bajwa, who was last week replaced by former chief minister Singh, described his removal as “temporary setback” and said his “sacrifice will not be a big price if party wins polls in 2017”.
“We will have to fight as one as there is going to be a tough challenge (in assembly polls). We need to do hard work and fight as one to achieve our goal as people now have an alternative because Aam Aadmi Party is there. They have government in Delhi and they have four MPs in Punjab,” Bajwa said here.
“Last time (during 2012 assembly polls), there was no other option with the people,” he said.
Listing out priorities for the new leadership, Bajwa said that the first priority for the party is to save the state.
“Punjab needs to be saved first which is the first priority because Punjab cannot go in for a third political disaster,” he said.
Congress had faced two successive defeats in Punjab in 2007 and 2012 assembly polls when Singh was state party president.
Bajwa said the party workers who had faced “traumatic” experience during the SAD-BJP rule in the state should also be protected from the “oppression” of the ruling party.
Asked how he saw his removal, he said, “I do not see it as permanent setback. I see it as temporary setback. If my party wins elections in Punjab then I will see my sacrifice was worth of something. That will not be a big price if with sacrifice of mine, party wins polls.”
Asserting that he has always remained a “loyal solider” of the party, Bajwa said he never indulged in “self-driven and self-centered” politics.
“I have a big future ahead of me. This in not the end of the road,” he said, advising the new state leadership of the party to “work hard” to help the party in wining elections.
“Amarinder should act as father figure and he must be more magnanimous,” he said.