Patiala, October 11
District Congress Committee (DCC) president Narinder Pal Lalli was today expelled for six years from the party by Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring “for indiscipline and anti-party activities” a day after Lalli and his supporters held a parallel dharna and did not join the protest held by Warring in Patiala.
Will continue to perform duties: Lalli
- Lalli says he will continue to perform his duties as the district Congress chief till he receives a written communiqué from the party high command in Delhi
- Sources say the action to expel Lalli was taken by Warring in consultation with AICC in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Choudhary
Lalli hit back and said the “Congress state chief has no powers to either appoint or remove district Congress chiefs”. Lalli said he would continue to perform his duties as the district Congress chief till he received a written communiqué from the party high command in Delhi.
Warring issued an order from the Punjab Congress Bhawan in Chandigarh ordering expulsion of Lalli from the party for six years. The office order issued by Warring read: “Shri Narinder Lalli, former DCC president (urban) is removed from the party for six years following anti-party activities.”
Reacting to the development, Lalli said he, along with other district Congress presidents, was appointed by the Congress high command. “All India Congress Committee general secretary KC Venugopal had appointed us and thus the PCC chief can only recommend, but not remove us,” he told The Tribune. “I am being sidelined and targeted as I am a loyal party worker who was appointed on the recommendation of former PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu,” he said, adding that expelling loyal Congress men would only hit the party morale.
Sources said the action to expel Lalli was taken by Warring in consultation with AICC in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Choudhary. “Indiscipline and factionalism is the last thing we need in the state Congress,” said a senior Congress leader.
Yesterday, Lalli and his supporters held a parallel dharna and did not join the protest held by Warring. The two Congress factions locked horns, bringing differences in the party to the fore.
Later, Warring said with the replacement of the PCC chief, the district committees in Punjab already stood dissolved and new panels would be announced soon. The two factions were protesting against the Punjab Government for not acting against Cabinet Minister Fauja Singh Sarari over corruption charges.
The factionalism in the Congress in Patiala could cost the party dear as a number of local Congress leaders have already switched sides to the BJP after former CM Capt Amarinder Singh and his aides merged their recently floated political outfit, the Punjab Lok Congress, with the BJP.
With a little over a year to go to the Lok Sabha polls, the Congress has three factions in the district. While one is loyal to the party, the other sides with jailed former PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. Yet another cadre within the Congress sees Patiala MP Preneet Kaur as their leader. “We need to sort out these issues at the earliest and ensure that we rise above factionalism and honour loyal Congress men,” said a former Congress MLA.
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