Amarinder effect, infighting could cost Cong dear in Punjab

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The Congress is fighting a high pitched battle in Punjab and the Aam Aadmi Party has surprised everyone with the tough challenge it has mounted against the incumbent government led by chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi. Congress leaders privately admit that former CM Amarinder Singh is harming the party and the interference from Delhi in the affairs of the state has made matters worse.

Sources in the Punjab Congress and various MPs say that the infighting has intensified since the elevation of former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu as party state president. Amarinder floating his own political outfit has affected the party’s prospects in the state, they state.

The Congress leaders who are opposed to Sidhu have also objected to the party’s decision to expel many leaders including Kewal Singh Dhillon. “Shocked to read @KewalDhillonINC summarily expelled from @INCIndia without even as much as a notice. When no one was prepared to invest a penny in Punjab during days of terror he brought @PepsiCo to Punjab in 1980s. He was a Congressman when it was an invitation to assassination” Congress MP Manish Tewari said.

The party is facing an onslaught from Amarinder Singh who is contesting in alliance with the BJP. Congress leaders have been saying privately that Amarinder is damaging the party and can defeat the party candidates in two dozen seats. However the Congress has rubbished the claims, saying that Amarinder is a spent force in the state and the Congress will emerge victorious.

The state is going to the polls on Sunday and two days before it the Congress has tried to corner the AAP over the statements made by former AAP leader and founder Kumar Vishwas. Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convenor Arvind Kejriwal has termed it as a comedy and compared himself with Bhagat Singh which the Congress is terming an insult to freedom fighters.

Congress spokesperson Jaiveer Shergill said: “While Shaheed Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for the nation, Arvind Kejriwal is not willing to give up even one of his posts. He is both CM and National Convenor of AAP due to his lust for power. Kejriwal comparing himself to Bhagat Singh is an insult to our freedom fighters & reflects his desperation for votes.”

The Punjab Congress is witnessing turmoil since the party central leadership gave prominence to Navjot Singh Sidhu as many in the party are opposed to him.

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