Even as the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) has deputed its senior leaders in Dhuri, Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Partap Singh Bajwa is fighting a lone battle here as a majority of Congressmen are missing from the election campaign.
Though Bajwa on Wednesday started the poll campaign for the Congress-backed Sanjha Morcha candidate Simarpartap Singh Barnala and held rallies in more than 10 villages, no senior Congress leader accompanied him. Following the withdrawal of Amritsar MP Amarinder Singh from the campaign, the pro-Amarinder legislators and district presidents of the party are also missing from the campaign in Dhuri, which was once considered a Congress stronghold. Amarinder had backed out of the campaign charging that Bajwa had deliberately ignored him even as he was willing to campaign in Dhuri.
Bajwa is leading the campaign in Dhuri in the absence of prominent faces. He is also holding closed-door meetings with party workers and supporters. Former Sangrur member of Paliament Vijayinder Singla, who is camping in Dhuri, arranged a meeting of several prominent persons with Bajwa. Only second-rung leaders, some Congress MLAs and former MLAs are working in Dhuri for the party.
Accusing the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) of ruining the state, Bajwa urged the voters to take revenge from the ruling alliance for ignoring the Dhuri constituency. Accompanied by Simarpartap Barnala, Bajwa drew a comparison between the Congress candidate and the SAD nominee, Gobind Singh Longowal, saying in terms of education, political standing of the family and age, the Congress candidate was much better than the SAD-BJP alliance candidate.
Though Bajwa has hit the campaign trail, the Barnalas want Amarinder to canvass for Simarpartap in Dhuri.
Sources said the Barnala family had approached the Congress high command and has also spoken to Amarinder to campaign for Simarpartap.
It is learnt that Surjit Kaur Barnala had urged Captain Amarinder to seek votes for her son. Meanwhile, Bajwa on Thursday will visit Bathinda to chalk out a plan for the Talwandi Sabo rally.