Bajwa meets Rahul, gets battle-ready with 10 rallies
The rally war in the Punjab Congress is set to intensify with state party chief Partap Singh Bajwa planning to outnumber the rallies by former chief minister and Amritsar MP Capt Amarinder Singh.
Bajwa on Wednesday met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi to apprise him of his programme. Amid reports of a change of guard in Punjab, the meeting also signifies that Bajwa still enjoys Rahul's support and has his backing for his mass contact programme.
Both Amarinder and Bajwa will launch their second phase of Punjab tour in the first week of August.
In the first phase, the two leaders had kicked off their mass contact programmes in contrasting styles. Bajwa began his tour to cover 34 reserved seats in the first week of June, comprising village meetings, six rallies and a few public meetings.
Amarinder launched his programme to take on Bajwa from July 1 and held eight rallies covering Majha and Doaba regions besides lunch, dinner and tea meetings with party leaders and workers.
In the second round, Bajwa plans to hold 10 rallies in August-September starting from Nihal Singh Wala in Moga in the first week of August. Amarinder will hold seven rallies in the second phase -- the first at Rampura Phul on August 8 and one at Khemkaran on September 9 before heading off to the US, Canada and the UK for wooing the Punjabi diaspora.
The rally politics has widened the fissures in the party with the Amarinder camp making it a show of strength by getting the support of a majority of sitting and former MLAs to make his programmes a success while Bajwa has been struggling to muster partymen and crowds.
AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab, Shakeel Ahmed, said Rahul met state presidents and Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leaders of both Punjab and Haryana on Wednesday.
"We apprised Rahul of the political situation in Punjab, including attack on the Shiromani Akali Dal delegation in the US," he said.
On whether the parallel rallies of the two leaders came up for discussion, Ahmed said Rahul is aware of their ongoing programmes.