Bhattal,Captain trade charges

It is an open war in the poll-beaten Congress.

Written by Sukhdeep Kaur | Chandigarh | Published:April 2, 2012 2:47 am

It is an open war in the poll-beaten Congress. Claiming that victory in the Assembly elections was served to Akalis on a platter by state Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh,Rajinder Kaur Bhattal — who was recently replaced as the Leader of Opposition — said on Sunday that not only was Amarinder the sole reason for the defeat but he also ensured that the party lost crucial seats.

Speaking to mediapersons in Chandigarh,Bhattal said that while Amarinder was crediting the win to use of money power by the Akalis,“but he should explain where the Rs 300 to 500 crore of party funds went”. “We have an executive meeting scheduled on April 4 in New Delhi where I will demand a high-level investigation into this. How can a man who once had no money to even change the tyres of his car own an apartment in Dubai?” she added.

Bhattal even charged Amarinder of bowing before the Akalis to rid him of court cases. Hinting at Amarinder’s man friday,Arvind Khanna,she said though he is good friends with Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal,but she is the one who is accused of being close to Akalis. “The party is reaping the crop and seeds sown by Amarinder. The Congress office was not his private property that it was being run by captains and majors who had made no contribution to the party,” she said.

Launching a counter-offensive against Amarinder who had blamed his detractors,including Bhattal,of lobbying for tickets for kin and loyalists,Bhattal said Amarinder had cornered a lion’s share of 34 seats out of those where there was no consensus. “Among these,he won two. Out of the 13 seats I got,I won nine and not just two as he claims. The remaining four — Sangrur,Faridkot,and Sahnewal (contested by her son-in-law Vikram Bajwa) — he ensured that we lose,” she claimed.

In a warning to Amarinder that many skeletons will now tumble out of the closet,Bhattal said that he had started the blame game by going to the media and violating the party code of conduct. Now,she will see to it that all is revealed.

Amarinder,who is in New Delhi,hit back saying she should send him the list of donors,so that he can send it to the AICC for investigation. “For more than two weeks,I have been hearing what Bajwa (Gurdaspur MP),Bhattal and Sukhpal had to say. There is a limit to how much lies you can tolerate. The record has to be set straight. Bajwa got five seats,four of which he lost,Bhattal got 10,out of which she won two,including her own ,” he said.

On Khanna’s proximity to Sukhbir,Amarinder said like he and PPP chief Manpreet Badal are from Doon School,Sukhbir and Khanna’s did MBA from California University. “That doesn’t make him a mole of the Akalis. Is it possible that a man designated as chief minister will ensure defeat of his own candidates? I did what I could in the days we got for campaigning and even went only once to my son’s constituency in Samana. Every seat was important for me.”

Laying to rest speculation that he is on his way out,Amarinder said: “I am not going to hang up my boots. I will get a new pair made instead.”

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