Even though the Congress high command has been trying for a truce between Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Partap Singh Bajwa and Amritsar MP Capt Amarinder Singh, things are not moving in that direction on the ground.
Former CM Amarinder reportedly held a dinner meeting at a hotel in Chandigarh on Saturday night and assigned duties for the assembly bypoll in Patiala, the seat vacated by him after entering the Lok Sabha and now being contested by his wife, former union minister Preneet Kaur. She had lost the Patiala Lok Sabha seat. It is learnt that nearly 35 MLAs got together for the dinner and Amarinder asked most of them to camp at Patiala.
While most of Amarinder’s loyalists were present or had sent reasons for absence, those absent included former CM Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, MLA Brahm Mohindra, Bajwa’s wife and MLA Charanjit Kaur Bajwa, Sham Sunder Arora, Rakesh Pandey, Surinder Dawar, OP Soni and Arvind Khanna. At the dinner, Amarinder asked most of the his loyalists, including Rana Gurjit Singh, Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi, Kewal Dhillon, Jagmohan Kang and Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, to work at Patiala. Amarinder reportedly said he would camp from August 8 onwards at Patiala, which goes to polls on August 21.
But Bajwa is yet to assign duties to leaders for Patiala and Talwandi Sabo, and has thus been bypassed. The state unit chief has been preparing a list for duties to Congress MLAs and other senior leaders for both seats.
Now, Amarinder has already made it clear that he would be at Patiala while Bajwa would oversee the campaign at Talwandi Sabo, where the party is a facing tough challenge at the hands of Congress MLA-turned-SAD candidate Jeet Mohinder Singh Sidhu. Bajwa could not be contacted for comment.
Meanwhile, some MLAs, who wish to remain away from this tussle, took up the matter with the high command and asked party general secretary Shakeel Ahmad to assign duties uniformly, sources said.