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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Bajwa, Makkar meet hots up Congress politics

Jasdeep Singh Malhotra , Hindustan Times  Jalandhar , March 17, 2013
First Published: 21:34 IST(17/3/2013) | Last Updated: 00:17 IST(18/3/2013)

The ‘breakfast’ meeting between newly appointed Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa and Akali leader and Kapurthala district planning committee chairman Sarabjit Singh Makkar here on Sunday morning raised many an eyebrows in political circles of the state.

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Even as Bajwa and Makkar were said to be sharing family relations for the past over two decades, the Congress sources opinioned that the timing of the meeting that too in full public domain is likely to further fuel up Bajwa’s differences with Kapurthala Congress MLA Rana Gurjit Singh, who had defeated Makkar in last Assembly elections.

Sources said that the meeting was also being seen in contradiction to Bajwa’s call to the Congress MLAs to “boycott” Akali-BJP government. Bajwa had recently asked his MLAs to refrain from approaching the Akali government for their works and asked them to take oath on boycotting the government at Harmandir Sahib (Golden Temple).

Sources said that Rana Gurjit was initially introduced in Punjab politics by Bajwa, but the duo soon developed differences over some industrial project plan. Later, they were seen at different horizons of the Punjab Congress politics while Rana Gurjit Singh remained loyal to then Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh.

Eyewitnesses said that Makkar along with his security guards reached Basti Bawa Khel residence of one Amrik Singh Lally, Bajwa’s close family friend and was greeted by a section of Congress councillors and leaders.

Makkar entered Bajwa’s room, where he was interacting with the former minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh. Later, Chaudhary Jagjit Singh too came out of the room while leaving Bajwa, Makkar and Lally behind. Makkar had his breakfast with the Punjab Congress chief and reportedly extended greetings on Bajwa’s appointment to the top post even as what exactly transpired during the meeting could not be ascertained.

They remained closest for nearly 20 minutes while the Congressmen kept on waiting outside for their turn to meet the new president.

Interestingly, Rana Gurjit too preferred not to call on the state Congress president despite the latter was in the city since Saturday evening. Bajwa met media barons last night. He was seen meeting with Congress leaders and workers since Sunday morning. He later left the city in the afternoon.

Kapurthala Congress MLA reportedly got annoyed over Bajwa’s gesture to meet Makkar, sources said, adding that it would hit the ongoing efforts of a section of Congressmen, who were out trying to bridge the differences among Bajwa and Rana Gurjit. Bajwa, sources said, might have been trying to give a signal to Rana Gurjit to toe his political line even as the MLA was still completely “loyal” to Amarinder camp.

Bajwa was not available for comments, while Makkar denied having met the former in Jalandhar today. “I along with my UK based friend was on way to Kapurthala to attend some social and political functions. It was my friend, who was scheduled to meet the Congress president and he met Bajwa accordingly. Why I will meet Bajwa? This is false propaganda,” he said.

Rana Gurjit was not available for comments. 

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