Amritsar, February 11
Amid reports of differences within the Congress, Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, who is also the chairman of party’s election management committee for Punjab, held a closed-door meeting with “disgruntled” leaders of Amritsar, asking them to support PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and other party candidates in their campaign.
Local Congress leaders have been conspicuous by their absence during campaigning by Sidhu in the high-stakes Amritsar East constituency, where he is pitted against SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia. Similarly, in Amritsar North, sitting Congress MLA Sunil Dutti has expressed displeasure and sought support from party colleagues.
Better Fall in line or face music
This is our last attempt to convince leaders. Those who go against party’s principles will face action. If anyone wishes to quit can do so. — Ravneet Bittu, Chief, Cong poll MGMT panel
Will seek votes for pcc president
Differences surfaced prior to candidates’ selection, but once poll process got going, these were sorted out. I will soon join him in his campaign. — Gurjeet Aujla, Cong MP
Sidhu, who has been single-handedly campaigning in his constituency, canvassed in favour of Dutti today.
A senior Congress leader, who attended the meeting with Bittu, said local party leaders had expressed resentment over Sidhu not approaching them for assistance.
MP Gurjeet Aujla said the party was united and that he would support any candidate unconditionally. He agreed though he was never approached by Sidhu, he would soon join him in his campaign.
“Differences occurred prior to candidates’ selection, but once the election process got rolling, these were sorted out. Sidhu, being a star campaigner too will campaign across Punjab as and when required by the high command,” he said.
Bittu said he had tried to convince the leaders who had not been supporting party candidates in the fray, adding those who still won’t cooperate would have to face the music.
Meanwhile, Bittu visited the Amritsar East constituency and shared dais with Sidhu last night. Seeking support for the PCC chief, he said the fight was not between Sidhu and Majithia, but between truth and evil. Nonetheless, Sidhu today visited Mudhal village falling under his home turf, where he cited development works executed during his five-year term. “If you think I have not carried out development in your village or have implicated anyone in fake police FIRs, don’t vote for me,” he told residents.
He said the Akalis had business interests and had been luring residents with “ill-gotten” money. “They have been terrorising people using political clout and hiring outsiders for their rallies,” he said.
Cautioning the residents against monetary allurement, Sidhu said he would spare Rs 1 crore for the village if elected. Sidhu claimed among 12,500 villages in the state, development works executed at Mudhal were the highest in the past five years. When Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, his wife, represented the constituency (during the SAD-BJP regime), Rs 43 crore grant was sanctioned for the village.
Attacking Majithia, he said he would soon be behind bars over his links to the drug trade.
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