Raising the banner of revolt against Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Partap Singh Bajwa, a section of the district party unit has initiated the 'remove Bajwa' signature campaign. The group is opposing Bajwa's decisions, including the appointment of Gurpreet Singh Gogi as the district Congress committee (DCC) chief.
While launching the campaign, several block unit presidents and other party office-bearers from Ludhiana, said, "Bajwa has been a total failure for the past one-and-a-half years now. He has no 'achievement' to his credit, except dividing the party."
Former DCC president Pawan Dewan, who had been issued a showcause notice for disciplinary action by Bajwa for giving statements on his removal from the post, was among the party leaders who skipped Gogi's installation ceremony. Dewan, however, was not present at the launch of the signature campaign.
Addressing a press conference here on Sunday, block presidents Palwinder Singh Taggar, Satwinder Singh Jawaddi, Baljinder Singh Bunty, Rakesh Sharma and Vinod Bathla alleged that Bajwa was misleading party president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi.
Bunty stated that by appointing working presidents, Bajwa had virtually created a division in the party at the grassroots level. "Thanks to Bajwa, the Congress stands split in Punjab today," he alleged, adding that, "as long as Bajwa is there, the party cannot hope to win the 2017 assembly elections."
Without naming anyone, the office-bearers demanded that the party high command must choose a leader who was acceptable not only to every section of the party but also to the masses.
"So far, Bajwa has only been claiming the support of the party high command. What about the support from the grassroots workers?" they asked.
"Whether it's drug smuggling in Punjab, sand mining, law and order or an industrial package, he has only been speaking and doing nothing on the ground," the block presidents said.
They alleged that Bajwa had turned the PPPC into a private limited company, with him and his brother Fateh Jang Singh Bajwa being in charge of everything.
Meanwhile, some of the Congress workers present at Gogi's ceremony expressed their resentment at the state of affairs. A group claimed that some senior Congress leaders had already recommended former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh's name as Bajwa's replacement.
When asked about his reaction to the signature campaign, Bajwa said, "It is good that these block presidents are doing something instead of sitting idle."
When contacted, Pawan Dewan said, "This (signature campaign) is the initiative of the block presidents and I feel that it is their democratic right to protest peacefully. I was removed unceremoniously from the post of DCC president and the new appointment was made in my absence, in violation of norms."