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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Preneet mends fences with rivals

Vishal Rambani, Hindustan Times  Patiala, March 31, 2013
First Published: 23:45 IST(31/3/2013) | Last Updated: 15:52 IST(1/4/2013)

With Capt Amarinder Singh no more at the helm of affairs in the Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee which he headed for 15 years, his MP wife and minister of state for external affairs Preneet Kaur is busy mending fences with their rivals.

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Preneet on Sunday visited Brahm Mohindra, who had advocated Amarinder's removal after the latter issued a notice to him for not attending the Moga poll campaign.   

Preneet and Amarinder, during the 2012 assembly ticket allotment, had opposed the ticket to Mohindra from Patiala rural in order to get it for their son Raninder Singh.

Mohindra, a critic of the royal family in the Congress, lives right opposite the New Moti Bagh Palace, which remained the power centre of the Punjab Congress politics for 15 years. With Amarinder now out of the PPCC, Preneet wasted no time visiting Mohindra's house for a truce.

Mohindra earlier represented the Patiala urban seat, when in 2002, Amarinder as the PPCC president shifted him to Samana, from where he was defeated.

As the Lok Sabha elections approach and leaders like Deepinder Singh Dhillon have joined the Akali Dal, Preneet has started the damage control exercise.

On Saturday, Preneet visited PPCC vice-president Lal Singh at his house. Lal Singh and Preneet weren't on good terms after the assembly elections, as his supporters said "many forces" unsuccessfully worked for Lal Singh's defeat during the 2012 polls. Besides, she also met Madan Lal Jalalpur and other leaders.

A Congressman said, "The royal family didn't bother even for ministers and MLAs till they were in control of the PPCC. Now, things have changed and Preneet is out pleasing others."

Mohindra played down the development, saying Preneet is the local MP and could visit any Congress person in the constituency. "It was a courtesy call. I won't comment on the past. She came for support and as usual I will extend it to every Congress person, whosoever he or she may be," he said.

Lal Singh said, "Preneet visited me in connection with the function to welcome Bajwa and I have assured all support to her as it is our duty. We also discussed the statergy for the coming Lok Sabha polls."

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