Patiala, April 24
Days after Amrinder Singh Raja Warring took over as Pradesh Congress Committee president, his predecessor Navjot Singh Sidhu along with former party MLAs on Monday will lead a protest near the Nabha Thermal Plant, Rajpura, but without the presence of the former. The event is being seen as show of strength by Sidhu. Raja Warring said he had no knowledge about the dharna.
No invite sent to anyone
No one has been invited separately for the dharna. When Sidhu came to know about it, we got in touch and he said he would be there. I have requested everyone to join us at the venue on Monday. — Hardyal Kamboj, ex-MLA
Factionalism to fore again
- Bringing rift within the PCC to the fore yet again, when Warring convened his first meeting at Amritsar last week, Sidhu met party dissidents instead
- Three days ago, Sidhu made a “guest appearance” at his successor’s installation. He didn’t attend the event, but waited in a room
Former Rajpura MLA Hardyal Kamboj, who is organising the event, said he had not invited anyone separately for the dharna. “When Navjot Sidhu came to know about it, we got in touch and said he would be there. The real issue is not who is coming, but the fact that people of the state are suffering,” he said. “I have requested everyone to join us at the venue on Monday,” he said.
Sidhu, who had been lying low after he was asked to resign as PCC chief, has lately been quite active, raising issues, meeting party leaders and holding events across the state.
Following coal shortage and power cuts across the state ahead of the paddy season in June, Kamboj has decided to raise the issue at the thermal plant itself. Hoardings and posters of Kamboj and Sidhu are seen near the venue.
“I spoke to my supporters and workers in the constituency and they were all upset with irregular power supply. We decided to question the government as to what steps they are taking to ensure ample power for farmers and other consumers when they are already short of power ahead of the paddy season”, he said.
A senior Congress leader said given the bitter friction within the party, top leaders had decided to stay away till a truce was called.
Factionalism within the state Congress is nothing new and has been part and parcel of the party for the past many decades. Last week, when Raja Warring convened his first meeting of party leaders at Amritsar, Sidhu chose to meet party dissidents outside the holy city.
Three days ago, Sidhu made a “guest appearance” at his successor’s installation. Instead of sharing dais with other leaders at the main event, Sidhu waited in a room at the office for Raja Warring to arrive and left minutes after congratulating him. The Congress was ousted from power in the Assembly polls, which was attributed primarily to its internal rifts and intense infighting.
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