Punjab Congress president Amarinder Singh’s meeting with party workers here on Thursday was marred by indiscipline. What started off as an impressive function at a local marriage palace ended on a not-so pleasant note as most of the ‘workers’ who had come from different assembly constituents to interact with their leader left before his formal address.
The speakers, who got an opportunity to speak, took too long to present their views whereas many others who kept raising their hands, did not get a chance to say a word. Unrest was palpable as some people vented their anger at being ‘discriminated’.
“Why were they called if they were not to be allowed to express their views,” a party worker questioned. Amarinder tried to pacify them stating it was not possible to let everyone speak. People started leaving the venue when the interaction was just midway.
Asks youth, women to express views
Most of the early speakers were party’s office-bearers. This prompted Amarinder to make an appeal to women and youngsters to come forward with their suggestions. The grassroots workers, who got a chance to grab the mike, alleged that they were not given their due.
“The party won the last election due to our efforts but after the win, we were completely ignored. Make sure, it does not happen this time,” another worker said. One of them suggested that the party should do away with the practice of sending observes to assess prospective candidates’ potential, saying that it promoted internal rivalry.
There were more suggestions on party candidates than on winning mantras. Speakers demanded various incentives from the Congress president as if he were the chief minister. In his address, he announced to mae efforts for an industrial zone for the Knadi area, employment to wards of Congress workers, a strong lok pal, special incentives for farmers and industry. He urged the party workers to work unitedly and maintain discipline. “We should learn from our mistakes. We got defeated in the last elections due to our own weaknesses. It should not repeat. We can trounce our opponents if we remain united”, he said.
Others present on the occasion included former union minister Santosh Chowdhary, former MP Mohinder Singh Kaypee, sufi singer Hans Raj Hans and district president Sunder Sham Arora. About two dozen BSP workers joined the Congress and pledged support for the next elections.
Shows unhappiness over public outbursts
Meanwhile, two sitting municipal councillors Brahm Shankar Jimpa and Mohan Lal Pehlwan and former MC president Ajay Mohan Babbi, in a separate press conference, threatened to quit the party if their grievances were not heard in a week’s time but when informed, Amarinder expressed his displeasure at their public uttering and said that they should rather have come to him.