October 27, 2021 8:31:51 am
A day ahead of former CM Amarinder Singh’s scheduled press conference in Chandigarh, the Congress high command reached out to several party leaders from Punjab on Tuesday.
As soon as Amarinder’s media adviser Raveen Thukral sent out invites for Wednesday’s presser, AICC leader Rahul Gandhi invited at least five MLAs to Delhi and held separate meetings with them.
Thukral had sent out messages that Amarinder would be holding a press conference at 11 am on Wednesday.
Rahul is learnt to have met MLAs and former Cabinet ministers Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Sunder Sham Arora and Balbir Singh Sidhu and held meetings with them on Tuesday evening. These former ministers were considered close to the CM.
One among these four leaders, who did not wish to be named, confirmed that the meetings took place with each lasting less than 30 minutes.
“He met them. It was just a confidence building exercise. These people were dropped from the Cabinet and have been lying low. Rahul ji has instilled confidence in them and asked them to work for the party and strengthen it,” said a leader privy to the developments.
Rana Sodhi, who is closest among Amarinder’s aides, is in Delhi.
“He would not attend the press conference. If the party can stop him, then the party can stop others too,” said a leader.
Amarinder had earlier announced that he would be launching his own political party and later ally with BJP after a solution to conflict over farm laws.
Sources said Amarinder may name the party Punjab Lok Congress. They added that the constitution of the party was ready and several formalities required were also done. Amarinder had camped in Delhi for last couple of days to complete these formalities.
Given the importance of the presser, Amarinder’s media adviser tweeted to say that it would be live streamed on Facebook and YouTube and put out the web links.
Sources said that Amarinder would hold another presser in Delhi in the coming days.
“We will show people of the state what all work we have done. We are not launching the party yet. We will tell you when we will launch the party,” a source close to Amarinder said even as several from Amarinder’s camp have been confirming over the past few days that he would launch it on Wednesday.
In run up to the press conference, the Congress camp also launched an attack on Amarinder. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said, “He is launching his party at the behest of BJP. He will make a huge mistake. He should stand with the farmers rather than hobnobbing with the BJP.”
PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu’s wife, Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu, also attacked Amarinder as she said, “If he had to work after floating his own party, he should have rather worked while being the CM.”
The former CM, meanwhile, warned the state government not to threaten his supporters.
His media adviser tweeted on his behalf: “‘From personal attacks they’ve now stooped to threats and harassment of my supporters in Patiala and elsewhere. Let me tell my rivals they can’t defeat me with such low-level political games. They will neither win votes nor people’s hearts with such tactics. Those who have stood by me have done so because they believe in & want to continue working for Punjab’s peace and development. They will not be scared away by such petty acts of intimidation or persecution. We will continue to fight for Punjab’s future’: @capt_amarinder”
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