A protest by the Congress against the imposition of the property tax and snapping of water and sewerage connections by the municipal corporation Bathinda (MCB) seemed to have gone in vain as neither the MCB nor the state government has acted on these issues. However, former minister and Congress general secretary Harmander Singh Jassi must be looking for some political gain out of the five-day chain hunger strike that ended on Friday.
Seeking Congress ticket from Bathinda parliamentary constituency, Jassi remained present at the dharna, outside the MCB office, that lasted for five days. The protest may not bear fruits for residents, but it surely has helped Jassi in his political repositioning with months left for the Lok Sabha elections.
While People's Party of Punjab president Manpreet Singh Badal, who can also get the Congress support to contest against incumbent MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal from Bathinda, has been showing interest for an alliance with the Aam Adami Party (AAP), Jassi tried to strengthen his claim for ticket from Bathinda with the recent protest that was planned locally.
Jassi, who lost the assembly election from Bathinda (urban) constituency in 2012, has been working actively in the city and the five-day protest was perceived as part of his lobbying for the Lok Sabha ticket.
"It is a decision of the party to whom it wanted to give ticket. My job is to raise issues that affect people and I am doing my job happily," said Jassi when asked about his political plans.
Interestingly, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Partap Singh Bajwa was in the district to attend a party function at Bhagta village that was just 45 minutes from the dharna venue in the city. However, he didn't make efforts to be present at the dharna on the concluding day, much to the dismay of Jassi.