M A I N   N E W S

Cong seals poll pact with Manpreet; CPI stays away
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 10
The Congress and the People’s Party of Punjab (PPP) on Monday finalised its pre-poll alliance and will make the formal announcement in Chandigarh tomorrow, even as the CPI decided to stay away from the tie-up.

PPP chief and Akali Dal ex-leader Manpreet Badal will contest from Bathinda parliamentary constituency. He said he was “happy with the alliance and was waiting to see what the CPI decided”. Asked if he would go ahead with the Congress alliance with or without the CPI, he answered in the affirmative.

“Our alliance is sealed. We are announcing it tomorrow and I am ready to take on Harsimrat Badal of the Akali Dal in Bathinda,” Manpreet said.

The CPI said it had decided to stay away from the Congress-led grouping for ideological reasons. “We are working for a non-Congress, non-BJP formation at the Centre.

How can we go with the Congress in one state? Our fight is against the collective decisions of the Congress-led UPA at the Centre that have harmed the state of our economy and our country’s interests. Our alliance was with the PPP in Punjab. If the PPP has decided to go with the Congress, we will have to re-think our alignment,” CPI’s national general secretary Sudhakar Reddy said.

The matter of a possible Congress-PPP-CPI alliance in Punjab was discussed yesterday at the CPI’s National Council meeting here. Party leaders from the state were asked to give their opinion and they are reported to have shown their disinterest.

“We are in no way going to go with the Congress. We have informed the CPI central leadership of our take. The Central leadership will now decide and the matter will be formally resolved in about two days,” CPI Punjab secretary Bant Brar said. The Congress was ready to give CPI the Faridkot seat to contest in case it joined the Congress-PPP and Shiromani Akali Dal Longowal alliance.

Back in the capital, AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab Shakeel Ahmed said talks with the PPP had gone ahead positively and the formal announcement was expected in Chandigarh tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Congress Legislature Party Leader Sunil Jakhar, who was in New Delhi today, rushed to Chandigarh to attend Tuesday’s event.





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