Ahead of PCC polls,Capt cosying up to former CM’s family

Even as top Congress leaders in Punjab are vying with each other ahead of the race for state Congress president...

Written by Express News Service | Patiala | Published: February 19, 2010 11:30:56 pm

Even as top Congress leaders in Punjab are vying with each other ahead of the race for state Congress president,the birth anniversary of former chief minister Beant Singh has come as a boon for the party’s state unit as all leaders are expected to come under one platform on Friday in Chandigarh.

Former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh,who has not been attending the birth anniversaries of the slain chief minister for some time,is also likely to be present at tomorrow’s “Shanti Divas”,being organised at the Beant Singh Memorial in Sector 42 in Chandigarh. Sharing the stage with the former CM will be his bete noire and CLP leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. Punjab Govenor Shivraj Patil will also attend the ceremony.

Singh,who did not share a good rapport with Beant Singh’s family when he was the chief minister,has been cosying up to the family ahead of the race for party presidentship. Party stalwarts say that Capt Amarinder might require the support of Beant Singh’s family for the post.

A big hoarding announcing the commemoration of Beant Singh’s birth anniversary right outside the former CM’s residence in new Moti Bagh Palace in Patiala is a testimony to this.

However,Capt Amarinder had skipped most of Beant Singh’s birth anniversaries. The state also could not complete the Beant Singh Memorial even during the five-year term of the Congress in the state. With political equations having changed,Capt Amarinder Singh has extended his support to Beant Singh’s family,especially in shaping up the political fortunes of the former CM’s grandsons,Anandpur Sahib MP Ravneet Singh Bittu and Gurkirat Singh,who are often found together during most political events these days.

Sources close to Capt Amarinder Singh confirmed he will be present at tomorrow’s event,so did CLP leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. “I do not know about others,but I will definitely go there,” she said. Capt Amarinder Singh is expected to reach Chandigarh tonight.

PPCC secretary and grandson of the slain Congress leader Gurkirat Singh said,“Invitations to all senior Congress leaders have been sent and they have confirmed their presence tomorrow. Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil,former CM Capt Amarinder Singh,CLP leader Rajinder Kaur Bhattal and PPCC acting president Mohinder Singh Kaypee would be present there tomorrow. We have also invited senior AICC functionaries,party legislators and MPs from Punjab.”

Memorial incomplete,no stamp issued even after 14 years

PATIALA: The family of former chief minister Beant Singh,who was killed in a terrorist attack 14 years ago in Chandigarh,rues that despite a Congress regime at the Centre and in Punjab the memorial of the late leader remains incomplete. Pinning their hopes on the new Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil,Gurkirat Singh said that a stamp in the memory of the late leader and a Bharat Ratna promised by the Centre is yet to be fulfilled. Ujagar Singh,a close associate of the former CM,lamented that over the last decade official apathy towards the memorial has ensured that it remains a forgotten ruin. He said though the Chandigarh Administration opened the incomplete memorial last year,it was not a big event to remember the sacrifice of the leader.

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