The Batala unit of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) resigned enmasse on Saturday, reflecting a deeping crisis within the student wing of the Congress party.
The mass resignation by NSUI members came to protest the expulsion of their district chairman, Sanamdeep Singh Babbar alias Sunny Babbar.
The NSUI members, who sent their resignations to national general secretary Ajay Chikkara, accused their Punjab president, Iqbal Singh Grewal, of fuelling groupism in the party. They also demanded Iqbal’s resignation.
The student party’s Batala unit president Deepak Ladda told HT that Iqbal had appointed Babbar as the chairman on January 24 and ever attended various functions since then. But, Ladda added, Iqbal was now claiming that there was no post of chairman for the NSUI.
“That’s stupid,” Ladda told HT, “Iqbal Singh is trying to weaken the base of the Congress party in the constituency.”
“On the one hand, the state high command is ordering Congressmen to work collectively for the party’s victory in the forthcoming assembly election and on the other, Iqbal Singh is expelling NSUI members without any reasons,” Ladda added.
Among the NSUI members who resigned are the recently-nominated Batala assembly segment president Parmodh Kumar, vice-president Nishant Malhotra, Amrik Singh Bajwa and Gurpreet Singh.
Babbar, a supporter of local Congress MLA Ashwani Sekhri, was expelled on March 31 when the duo had appointed Parmodh Kumar as NSUI president for Batala and Nishant Malhotra as vice-president.
In doing so, they had bypassed supporters of state youth secretary, Nitin Sharma, who is a contender for Congress ticket from Batala in the assembly polls.
Iqbal Singh said the resignations of the NSUI’s Batala president and vice-president “hardly mattered”. He said he had already cancelled their appointments besides those made in the past few months.
“I had even issued a show cause notice to district president Deepak Ladda as he had appointed the office-bearers without taking the approval of the state unit. Very soon, senior leaders of the wing (NSUI) will arrive in Batala and reconstruct the entire unit for which they have already invited applications,” Iqbal said.
Ladda, however, said he and the other Gudaspur unit members of the NSUI will lodge a complaint with the party high command and seek strict action against Iqbal.