Congress MLAs Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Ashwani Sekhri and Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) member Raman Bahl have demanded the removal of Partap Singh Bajwa as state Congress chief to “save the party from being decimated in Punjab”.
Addressing a press conference at Bahl’s residence here on Tuesday, these leaders said Partap Bajwa,
a former Gurdaspur MP, had turned the Punjab Congress into a private limited company of his family. Replying to a query, they said they wanted former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to be appointed by the party high command as the PPCC chief.
The quartet accused Partap Bajwa and PPCC general secretary and his younger brother Fateh Jang Singh Bajwa of interference in the selection of party candidates for the municipal elections in Gurdaspur and Batala.
All India Congress Committee secretary and Batala MLA Ashwani Sekhri had on Monday threatened to quit his party post and resign as MLA over the alleged humiliation at the hands of the Bajwa brothers in the allotment of party tickets to the candidates for the Batala municipal elections.
Sekhri said AICC general secretary Ambika Soni, who is also attached to the office of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, had conveyed him the message that he need not resign as the Bajwa issue would be resolved soon.
Dera Baba Nanak MLA and Gurdaspur District Congress Committee president Sukhjinder Randhawa said Partap Bajwa had circulated a letter that screening committees would decide party candidates for the MC elections. However, no meeting of this proposed committee was held in the district and tickets were directly decided by Bajwa, ignoring the lists of prospective candidates recommended by area incharges.
Randhawa said he called up Jasbir Singh Dimpa, who was made the incharge of these committees, and asked him about their ‘non-existence’. He claimed that Dimpa promptly disassociated himself from the responsibility.
Raman Bahl reiterated that Bajwa had taken an anti-party decision by denying tickets to some deserving candidates recommended by him for the Gurdaspur municipal council polls.
Randhawa said if the high command did not remove Bajwa from the PPCC chief’s post at the earliest, he and other Congress leaders from the state would camp in Delhi and not come back till Bajwa was ousted. He asserted that the Congress had fought a century-long battle against the British to get India freedom, and he, along with other Congress leaders, would struggle for 100 days to get the PPCC freed from Bajwa’s control.
Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa said the Congress high command must act on the message conveyed by the party’s rout in the Delhi assembly elections and remove inefficient leaders such as Partap Bajwa to save the party from further decline in the state.
Partap Bajwa could not be contacted for comment.