Amid murmurs of opposition by Congress leaders in Bathinda after Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh said that he would recommend former finance minister Surinder Singla’s name as party candidate from Bathinda (urban) seat, senior party leader Manpreet Singh Badal has reiterated that he will contest the election from whichever segment the party will ask him to contest.
Manpreet, who was here to meet the protesting employees of the Guru Nanak Dev Thermal Plant (GNDTP) here on Tuesday, said that he hadn’t applied for party ticket from any assembly segment and would go wherever the party would ask him.
Manpreet’s name is also doing the rounds as a probable candidate from Bathinda (urban) assembly segment, while former legislator Harminder Singh Jassi has also staked his claim on the party ticket from this segment in 2017 Punjab assembly polls.
After a gap of over nine years, Singla started his political activity in the city on Monday by meeting party workers and people. Though, many party workers went to meet Singla in the circuit house, a majority of city Congress leaders maintained distance from him. Jassi had also questioned Singla’s absence from the city for a long time. Jassi, in an indirect reference to Singla, said that Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has made it clear that tickets wouldn’t be given to parachute leaders, who don’t have connect with the people.
Meanwhile, meeting the protesting employees of the GNDTP, Manpreet said that if the Congress formed a government in Punjab, it would fulfil their demands. The employees of the thermal plant, under the banner of the GNDTP Employees Joint Forum, have been staging protests daily against the Punjab government’s decision to close the plant for six months from October onward during the winter season, claiming fall in demand. The employees have also been demanding regularisation of contractual workers.
“The demands of protesters are just and reasonable and the Congress will concede to all these demands. We will review the agreements of the Punjab government with private thermal plants as they favour private plants. The state-owned thermal plants should be run to their full capacity. The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) coal mines in Pachhwara should be made operational and all contractual employees in the PSPCL should be regularised,” said Manpreet Badal.
On the Congress manifesto for Punjab assembly polls, he said that the manifesto was ready and would be presented to the Congress leadership on Wednesday and a meeting to discuss the same to give it a final touch is scheduled the same day in which all party senior leaders, including Captain Amarinder Singh, would take part. Manpreet is convener of the party’s manifesto committee, while former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal is the chairperson of the committee.