Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh has told the party legislators to throw their weight behind leader of opposition Charanjit Singh Channi in the Vidhan Sabha session starting on September 8. It is to caution them not to abandon him like last time.
Amarinder briefed them at the state Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting here on Thursday. “It is our last session,” he told the media later, “and I have advised the CLP leader to make it count by raising crucial issues in the House.” In the previous assembly session, an isolated Channi had a struggling initiation as CLP leader.
At the CLP meeting, Ferozepur legislator Parminder Pinky got up to object over the venue, Channi’s house. A few senior leaders were concerned immediately but the MLA — who had a spat with Channi inside the CLP office at the Vidhan Sabha in the last session — claimed “no such thing happened”.
Captain asked previous state CLP leader Sunil Jakhar to share his wisdom and experience with Channi, who took over as leader of the opposition earlier this year. The CLP will meet again to shortlist the issues for the four-day session. “The issues are many — farm debt, the poor not getting the benefits of blue card and other schemes,” Amarinder told the media.
He said the MLAs had their respective issues but the session was too short to raise all. Nearly 40 of 46 Congress legislators, besides the party’s Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Chaudhary attended the meeting. Amarinder’s wife, Preneet Kaur; former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and MLAs Karan Kaur Brar (Muktsar), Ajit Inder Singh Mofar (Sardulgarh), and Amrinder Singh Raja Warring (Gidderbaha) were notable absentees.
The next CLP meeting is likely after the obituary references on the first day of the session.
Meanwhile, Amarinder clarified that viral fever had kept him away from the death anniversary function of former chief minister Beant Singh on Wednesday. It was in reaction to the news reports that highlight his absence from the event.