Chandigarh, January 18
As former Finance Minister Manpreet Badal timed his resignation from the Congress during the last leg of the Rahul Gandhi-led “Bharat Jodo Yatra” in Punjab, the Congress leadership on Wednesday gave a clear signal to those planning to leave the party stating that it had capable and young leaders to fill in the space.
“The yatra has offered a platform for the senior party leadership in the state to work with unity, and exodus of leaders such as Manpreet Badal will not affect it. Rather, it will strengthen the party,” said party’s Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Chaudhary.
Sources said ever since Manpreet returned from abroad four months ago, he was feeling isolated. While all other leaders were invited, including Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, wife of party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, to join the yatra,
The exodus of the former Finance Minister saw Punjab Congress leaders targeting Manpreet for being an “opportunist”.
“Employees voted against the Akali Dal and later against the Congress when Manpreet Badal was the Finance Minister. Now, the BJP will go the same way since he has joined the saffron party,” said Leader of Opposition Partap Singh Bajwa.
Bajwa was joined by senior party leader Jairam Ramesh, who tweeted, “A man who left the Akali Dal to make his own party and then joined the Congress, was made Finance Minister for five years, then lost by a record margin of over 60,000 votes and thereafter went into hibernation now joins the BJP”.
Pradesh Congress Committee chief Amarinder Singh Raja Warring said, “Be it former Congressmen like Sunil Jakhar, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Raj Kumar Verka, or parachute leaders like Manpreet Badal, those who cannot remain out of power for long have no place in the party. It is good riddance. Political space is being crerated for new faces to emerge in the party.”
Exodus of leaders such as Manpreet Badal will not affect the Congress. Rather, it will strengthen it. — Harish Chaudhary, Cong Punjab affairs in-charge
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