War of words in Congress: Shakeel calls for restraint

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jan 30, 2016 09:11 IST
Congress general secretary in charge of Punjab affairs Shakeel Ahmad (HT File Photo)

Stepping into the war of words between the loyalists of Captain Amarinder Singh and former Congress Working Committee (CWC) member Jagmeet Singh Brar on Friday after the latter’s third consecutive day of tweet taunts against state party president, Congress general secretary in charge of Punjab affairs Shakeel Ahmad has asked both sides to exercise restraint.

In the latest salvo, Brar posted on online social networking service Twitter that Amarinder had a tacit understanding with the Badals, state’s ruling family. Reacting to Thursday’s statement from at least 20 former Congress legislators demanding his expulsion from the party, Brar on Friday tweeted this message to Amarinder:

“My humble suggestion to you — please get signatures of Badal Sahib and Sukhbir + Akali Dal MLAs to complete quorum. 2+2=4.” For the remarks, Dera Baba Nanak’s Congress legislator Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa called for strict party action against Brar. Brar has been hammering Amarinder since his decision of boycotting the Khadoor Sahib assembly byelection.

Ahmad stepped in to douse the fire. “I have requested both (Jagmeet) Brar and other leaders who have issued statement against him to restrain from discussing internal party issues in public. Anything and everything can be discussed within the party. Otherwise it harms party’s interests,” he said.

Randhawa, meanwhile, issued a statement here that it was unfortunate to see a senior leader such as Brar breaking party discipline and criticising the party leadership. He added that Brar’s outburst could be the result of his losing one election after another.

“He ( Brar) is frustrated that he has lost his popularity. It’s because of his self-centric approach and portraying himself bigger than the party,” said Randhawa, who is also Gurdaspur District Congress Committee (DCC) president.

“Brar cannot question others when he himself is responsible for the Goa poll defeat (in 2012). There are reports that he sold party ticket,” Randhawa alleged, demanding action against Brar. Addressing the media in Gurdaspur on Friday, he said Brar had even dared to question the authority of Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi. Indian Youth Congress president Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, present with Randhawa at a Youth Congress seminar, said Brar spoke against own party as he was looking to switch.

On Thursday, 40 MLAs justified Amarinder’s stand of not contesting the Khadoor Sahib bypoll , followed by a statement from 20 former MLAs demanding Brar’s expulsion for breach of discipline and embarrassing the party. Amarinder had on Wednesday announced not to contest the bypoll.

Brar has praised the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for the crowd it was able to pull on January 14 for the Maghi Mela rally in Muktsar.

Though he had claimed that he had neither the intention nor any invitation to join the AAP, Brar on Friday was unavailable over telephone to talk about this possibility in the light of his controversial tweet.

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