Chandigarh, September 7: With the Aam Aadmi Party in disarray and the political discourse in Punjab turning highly turbulent each passing day, the Congressmen are pressing state party chief Capt. Amarinder Singh to be more aggressive to take advantage of the fast changing situation. Akali Dal President and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal too had been waiting for such a situation to emerge. The Congress MLAs recently made it abundantly clear to Capt Amarinder Singh that the party would have to go in for bigger mobilizations as the meetings that he is organising under ‘Halqe Vich Captain’ programme designed by Congress strategist Prashant Kishor were now not in tune with the emerging permutations and combinations.
The MLAs expressed their feelings at a recent meeting of the Congress Legislature Party that he had presided. The meeting had been summoned by CLP chief Charanjit Singh Channi to chalk out strategy to confront the Akali Dal-BJP combine in the last session of the present House beginning September 8 and thereby set the agenda for the February 2017 Assembly elections.
“The time is over to interact with people in some marriage palace. Leaders of other political parties are addressing well-attended meetings. Now is the time when the Congress has to come out aggressively to give the message that the people are with us. AAP has become victim of its own contradictions. We would have to change with the fast changing situation”, said a senior MLA preferring anonymity.
The volcanic eruption in AAP has disturbed the political matrix and the parties are still trying to assess its impact as it would take some more time before some indication is available. However, from a perceptibly dominant position, AAP has turned nervous going by the panic reaction of suddenly joining hands with Jagmeet Singh Brar who has been looking for an opening for the last several months after burning bridges with the Congress. His political behavior is characterized by unpredictability and this has been the problem with him all these years.
According to sources, Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi is personally monitoring the situation especially after crisis in AAP. He is learnt to have made it clear to the state party leaders to put up united show and aggressively take on the Akali Dal-BJP combine in the Assembly session. He has never been interested in the affairs of the party in Punjab at the level of its functioning in the House. He recently had one on one meeting with the Congress Legislature Party leader Charanjit Singh Channi.
Former state Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa has been entrusted with the responsibility of mobilizing the farmers. He has been nominated as patron of the Kisan wing of the party in the state. Channi is a Dalit. Punjab is the one state with the highest density of dalit population among all states at 32 per cent.
The formal announcement of launching Awaz-e-Punjab, a conglomerate of diverse personalities, would be announced by Navjot Singh Sidhu, Akali Dal rebel MLA Pargat Singh and independent MLAs Simarjit Singh Bains and Balwinder Singh Bains here on Thursday.
Sucha Singh Chhotepur has already started his Punjab tour to take people into confidence before announcing his next move after parting company with AAP. He has succeeded in vertically dividing the Punjabi organizational set up of the party in the state.
Chhotepur has not ruled out joining hands with Awaz-e-Punjab as he is conscious about the need to give a united fight to the ruling Akali Dal-BJP combine, the Congress and what remains of AAP. He is getting overwhelming response from the people as the slogan of Punjabis versus non-Punjabis has started having its impact. It was the non-Punjabi organizational set up of AAP that had maintained an iron grip over the party affairs in the state leaving little space for the local leadership.
AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal is himself taking over the command and it is in this context that pressure on Capt Amarinder Singh has increased and MLAs want him to devise the strategy to be more visible while giving out the signal of massive people’s support.
The most confident leader is learnt to be Sukhbir Singh Badal who is confident of turning the tables. His problem is that about 60 per cent of the voters are from the younger age group but he has projected his 90 year old father and Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal as the party face. This is a contradiction in the Akali strategy. The youth can’t identify with the grand old man of Punjab.