United colors of Punjab Congress at Rahul led dharna in Jalandhar


Rahul dharna in Jalandhar

Jagtar Singh

Chandigarh, June 13: He continues to be prone to committing blunders going by the appointment of controversial Kamal Nath as Punjab in-charge of the Congress. However, Rahul Gandhi today succeeded in pushing the united face of the Congress into the election arena going by the dharna that the party organized today at Jalandhar against drug menace and blatant corruption in the state. For the first time, Punjab is to witness a real 3-dimensional contest with the emergence of Aam Aadmi Party that, however, is turning into Khaas Aadmi Party from being people’s movement.

Three aspects of the dharna were noteworthy. Former state legislature party leader Sunil Jakhar had been miffed with the decision makers in the party for having been ignored during the recent Rajya Sabha elections from the state although he was a hot contender. He had been making his resentment public repeatedly. Rahul saw to it that he was accommodated next to him on the dais.

He chose present CLP chief Charanjit Singh Channi today again to be his Rathvaan. It may be mentioned here that during his last visit to Chandigarh, Rahul had given this honour to Channi. He balanced out both present and former CLP chiefs.

Yet there was another dimension. Manpreet Singh Badal was not on the dais and he preferred to sit with the general public. Rahul invited him to share the space with him. This signal is very significant as it conveys the importance Manpreet has in Rahul’s circle so far as Punjab is concerned.

The problem with the Congress in this state has been that despite the fact that party is not in a position to take the risk of making even a slight slip, it had failed to put up united front, such has been the bloated ego of its leaders who have been fighting over elusive power. None of them realizes that the bridge is still too far for the Punjab Congress.

State party chief Capt Amarinder Singh has finalised a hectic schedule over the next moths during which he proposes to cover virtually the entire state while party activists would go to each and every village and mohalla to counter AAP. His programme has been designed by his strategic management team headed by Prashant Kishor. He would start his campaign  from Jalalabad, the constituency represented by Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal. Earlier on June 18, the party would stage a rally at Lambi, the constituency of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal. The Congress finally seems to be on the move.

Under his mega outreach, he is supposed to spend one entire day in a constituency. He would cover all the 117 constituencies and the campaign would be taken to the peak in November. His strategic affairs team would run the entire show. Teams of I-PAC have been tasked with connecting youth with the party and Capt Amarinder Singh through social media.

The problem with the party has been the demoralization of its cadre and factionalism. It is the cadre that has to be mobilized and the apparatus is  already in place. What is needed is a strong push.

The Akali Dal is already in the field.

AAP in the beginning had added a touch  of morality and ethics to its politics but that is slowly getting faded with the type of people that have been joining it. It had started as a people’s movement but the problem is that few among those who had given the first  push are now part of this movement as they have been either superseded or ignored by those who lack any commitment to social concerns or ideology. But then AAP itself is a non-ideological party. The party has lost its moral grandstanding and as such, the slogan of altenative politics has lost its meaning.

Congress is talking of Nasha-Mukt  and Corruption-Mukt Punjab and so is the AAP agenda. None can change the situation in the state within weeks as being claimed by the two opposition parties. That can’t be done with the ideas that are just stereotypes. Punjab needs leaders having commitment to social concerns and not non-ideological power hungry opportunists.


Jagtar Singh


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