Of the two important assembly byelections that the Congress faces, state party president Partap Singh Bajwa is not required for one.
Without consulting the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), the faction of Amritsar MP Amarinder Singh on Tuesday picked the team that will canvass for his wife, Preneet Kaur, in the contest here that his election to Parliament has forced. Bajwa, his long-time detractor in the party, gets not even a single rally in Patiala.
The Amarinder faction deployed 50 prominent leaders, including 29 of the 43 legislators, in the constituency for campaigning, leaving Bajwa with only 14 legislators, including his wife, Charanjit Kaur Bajwa, for the Talwandi Sabo campaign. Team Preneet draws members from even Malwa, even though the battle for Talwandi Sabo will happen in the heart of that region, where Bajwa hit the campaign trail on Tuesday.
Bajwa had recommended own duty chart to the party high command but before Congress general secretary Shakeel Ahmad could respond to it or the PPCC could release any list, the Amarinder camp had assigned territories to loyalists. Amarinder will address all three rallies in Patiala, including a big one at Qila Chowk. "Bajwa should concentrate on Talwandi Sabo," said a Captain loyalist.
The party has started door-to-door meetings and street-corner rallies, to mimic the micro-level strategy of main challenger Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). Fatehgarh Churian legislator Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Amarinder's daughter, Jaiinder Kaur, assigned the canvassing duties in Patiala. "The main responsibility will be of the local leaders, while campaigners from outside will coordinate and supplement the efforts," said Tripat Bajwa, adding: "The plan is to reach out to the last voter."
Congress candidate Preneet Kaur expressed confidence in the team that includes Laal Singh, Tripat Bajwa, Rana Gurjeet, Rana Sodhi, Kewal Dhillon, Arvind Khanna, Jagmohan Singh Kang, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Harchand Kaur, Dr Raj Kumar Verka, Amrik Singh Dhillon, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Hardayal Kambhoj, Gurkirat Kotli, Navtej Cheema, Raja Warring, Sukhjinder Randhawa, Tarlochan Soond, Aruna Chuadhary, Karan Kaur Brar, Sunder Shyam Arora, Charanjit Singh Channi, Gurcharan Singh Boparai, Joginder Singh Panjgraian, Ramanjit Sikki, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Kuljeet Nagra, Gur Iqbal Kaur and Muhammad Sadiq (all legislators).
Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, Rana KP Singh, Gurpreet Kangar, Love Kumar Goldy, Surjit Dhiman, Makhan Singh, Nathu Ram, Satnam Kainth, and Jagbir Brar (all former legislators); besides Rajinder Beri, Pawan Dewan, Gurjeet Aujla, Harinder Bhambri, and KK Puri (all district presidents) are also on her team.