Congress poll strategist Prashant Kishor met expelled senior leaders Bir Devinder and Jagmeet Brar at the official residence of Punjab Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Charanjit Singh Channi last week fuelling speculations that the party was in a mood of wooing back the dissidents.
The meeting took place on May 5, two days after Jagmeet Brar held a press conference at the house of the former deputy speaker in Patiala and announced to expose the “secret pact” between families of ruling Badal and Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh and invited Bir Devinder to join him for his May 21 rally at Mohali. Channi and Kishor met Devinder first followed by a meeting with Brar.
Bir Devinder said, “I had only expressed my feelings against the plight of party in Punjab and not praised the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) like Brar. The decision of my expulsion can be reviewed if good sense prevails on the party. There are many constituencies where I wield good influence. I have not committed to attend Brar’s rally but only supported him as he too had shown solidarity with me.”
However, Brar is in no mood to return to the Congress fold. His brother, former MLA Ripjit Brar, said they had not expected such huge response from people when they decided to hold the rally. “We are not going back to the Congress. We are expecting a huge turnout for the rally,” Ripjit said. Though he was keen on getting an invite from AAP, Brar is also looking at the possibility of being announced the face of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) if his rally turns out to be successful, making it a four-cornered contest. The BSP has a considerable votebank in Doaba and all parties are trying to woo the over 32% population of Dalits in the state.
Channi has personal stakes in getting the two leaders back into the party fold. He was president of Kharar municipal body when Bir Devinder was Kharar MLA. Brar now has support of a key Channi aide, Amandeep Singh Mangat, who has five councillors of the civic body in his constituency, Chamkaur Sahib, to his side.
Channi said he had met the leaders earlier to request them not to give statements against party leaders.