‘Rebels won over,trouble now in less than 20 seats’

Rebellion is a good omen,says Punjab Congress president and former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh

Written by Khushboo Sandhu | Chandigarh | Published: January 16, 2012 3:16 am

Rebellion is a good omen,says Punjab Congress president and former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Claiming that the rebellion in the party has been curtailed from 31 seats initially to less than 20,he said,“in the coming days all those who are not happy will also come around.”

Amarinder said the rebellion had flared after some of the names in the list were changed. “The rebels felt that they had a chance to make it to the list after threatening to contest against the chosen candidate. There being more than 1,500 applicants for 117 tickets,this was but expected,” he said. On the rebels who have filed their nominations as Independent candidates,Amarinder said he was hopeful that they would withdraw their nominations. He was speaking at the Idea Exchange at The Indian Express office here on Saturday.

“It is a good sign to have rebels. It means that we are coming to power and people want to be a part of it. We are now telling them to come back and work for the party. Congress is like an ocean. We have fish coming in and out,” he said while ruling out any further change of candidates.

Replying to a question on delay in deciding tickets,he said Congress president Sonia Gandhi held meetings over several days and took keen interest in the list to ensure equitable distribution of tickets.

Finally,the decision was made based on the winnabilty,” he said.

On possible post-poll alliance,Amarinder said such a need will not arise as the party is poised to clinch more than 70 seats and gain majority on its own. “In Majha,our seats would go up to 15,it will be a clean sweep in Doaba and in Malwa the party would retain its position.” For opponents Akali Dal,he pegged the number at 30 and for the BJP,two to three. For the PPP,he said,none.

Referring to the BSP,he said the party’s vote share in the state will go up but it would have mattered only if it had entered into an alliance with some party. “BSP supremo Mayawati is interested in becoming a major force in the country,not Punjab,” he said. Asked if the Dera Sacha Sauda has offered support to the Congress,he said the Dera was haunted by the Akalis and will vote for change.

On rebel within the family,brother Malvinder Singh,he said Malvinder has never been independently active in politics. “He has always played a supporting role in elections. He was in touch earlier with the People’s Party of Punjab and later approached Akalis even when we had not announced our candidates.”

Cong promises fight against graft

The Congress-led UPA government may have had not-so pleasant experience over the Lokpal issue,but that has not stopped the party from making corruption an important issue in poll-bound Punjab. The party,which released its 38-page manifesto on Sunday,talks of confiscating and auctioning the property of corrupt officials and ministers to fund social welfare activities. It also promises to bring in a transparent system of appointments and transfers in Lokayukta to ensure no interference in ongoing investigations and implement an effective system to defend honest officials.

“All public officers,including the MLAs,ministers and all public servants would declare their financial assets at the start of every financial year and a statutory Vigilance Commission under a new legislation will be established,” the manifesto states. It also assures that all public officers will be under the purview of the State Lokpal Act and the Lokayukta.

A major portion of the manifesto is dedicated to highlight the five years of misrule by the SAD-BJP combine. ENS

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