The rift that the war of words between Congress deputy leader in the Lok Sabha, Captain Amarinder Singh, and Punjab party president Partap Singh Bajwa has created widened a bit more on Tuesday.
Mudslinging from both sides has increased. A group of legislators came out in Amarinder’s support on Monday, while Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, and legislators Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Surinder Dawar backed Bajwa. The Amarinder camp did not waste time retaliating.
A day later, former district Congress vice-president Maninderpal Singh Teetu has termed Bajwa greedy and asked him to check his words. “Bajwa is tainted and should think twice before speaking against Captain (whom loyalists have called the tallest Congress leader of Punjab),” he said.
Questioning Bajwa on his role in the state opposition, Teetu said: “As chief of the state opposition party, he should have worked against the mafia activities in Punjab. (But how could he, when he was a part of the scheme).”
He demanded Bajwa’s resignation to prevent any further damage to the party in Punjab. “State Congress cannot be allowed to be governed by tainted, discredited, disrespected and a rejected leader,” he added.
Some senior leaders suggested that Bajwa should go for a popularity test across state to confirm whether he or Amarinder deserved to stay in the party. In a joint statement, former DCC president Pawan Dewan, Ludhiana East party in-charge Gurmail Singh Pahalwan and several other leaders ridiculed Bajwa’s demanding for removing Amarinder from the party, “when every Congressman wanted him to lead the party in the state”.
“Bajwa thinks when Amarinder is out of the party, he will have absolute authority. But if Captain is not around, there will be no Congress left in Punjab other than Bajwa himself, his wife, and his brother,” reads the joint statement.
The leaders said they would approach Congress president Sonia Gandhi and “tell her how the state Congress had been converted into a handmaid for unethical pursuits by those at the helm”.