Senior Congress leaders are surprised that state industries and commerce minister Madan Mohan Mittal declined to help industrialists for their backing Congress candidate Ravneet Singh Bittu in the Lok Sabha elections here.
On Friday, in a meeting with the city industrialists, Mittal was upset that Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate Manpreet Singh Ayali had finished third in the parliamentary contest behind Bittu and Aam Aadmi Party nominee HS Phoolka. He said the industrialists had not helped the state's ruling combine in the elections and now he could not help them.
Reacting to the statement on Sunday, Bittu said industry was provider of many jobs and pillar of support to the Punjab economy. "I am surprised to know that the industry minister would not work for the industrialists only because they chose a Congress candidate and not a SAD nominee," the member of Parliament added.
The leaders put it down in a joint statement that the Mittal reaction was of a "narrow minded combine that could not see a Congress candidate win". Congress legislators Surinder Dawar, Rakesh Pandey and Bharat Bhushan Ashu signed the statement that accused Mittal of ignoring the demands of the industrialists and resorting to political vendetta.
District Congress presidents Pawan Dewan (urban) and Malkeet Singh Dakha (rural) were among the leader who criticised Mittal. "Mittal should apologise to the industrialists," said Dawar. Mittal had made his remarks on Sunday on his first official visit to the city after the Lok Sabha elections. AAP leader HS Phoolka had demanded his resignation on the issue