Sunday, May 25, 2003, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

No place for tainted: Hanspal
Varinder Singh and Ashok Kaura

Phillaur, May 24
The Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief, Mr H.S. Hanspal, today asserted that there was no place in the party for people with a criminal or a tainted image and only honest and upright Congressmen would be given key party posts.

Addressing mediapersons here today along with a senior Congress leader, Ms Santosh Chaudhary, and Punjab minister, Mr Gurbinder Singh Atwal, Mr Hanspal said the party had a clear brief that no tainted person would be accommodated in any capacity. Replying to a question about the reconstitution of the party at the district level, Mr Hanspal said panels comprising four members had been sent from each district to the party high command, which would take a final decision within the next four days.

The PPCC chief claimed that the party would win all 13 Lok Sabha seats from Punjab during the next Lok Sabha elections, adding that the party had already chalked out a strategy of which block-level meetings and rallies were an important ingredient. “This programme has already been launched from Amritsar and all 209 blocks of the state will be covered within one and a half months,” said Mr Hanspal while adding that the Congress would not contest the panchayat poll on party symbol and that it would sweep this poll also.

While trying to justify the power tariff hike, Mr Hanspal said it was the need of the hour and claimed that the hike would not affect the poll prospects of the party. “We are, however, reviewing the government policy to withdraw the free education facility extended to girl students in the state,” he said.

He also supported his earlier stance of backing Mr Kuldip Singh Bhullar, a son of the Punjab DGP, Mr M.S. Bhullar, in the ongoing race for the post of the president of the state unit of the Youth Congress. He said no allegations or charges had been proved against Mr Kuldip Singh Bhullar so far.

Replying to a question about the choice of Mr A.A. Siddiqui as the next DGP of Punjab, Mr Hanspal said all top positions were being decided in accordance with the choice of the Chief Minister as it was he who had to run the government.

Mr Hanspal said the unity move in the Akali factions, headed by Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Gurcharan Singh Tohra, respectively, would have no effect on the poll prospects of the Congress. He rubbished any reported differences between him and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh. He also ruled out the possibility of any expansion of the ministry in the near future.

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