Punjab Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh’s overseas trip to woo the diaspora ahead of the 2017 election has triggered a battle of oneupmanship in the Congress camp, with several leaders making a beeline to be with the party chief there.
Amarinder Singh starts his 20-day trip to US and Canada Tuesday.
Atleast 30 leaders including MLAs, former MLAs, district presidents, have either already flown or are preparing to be there amidst rumblings of discontent among others who feel the party should be consolidating its support base in Punjab on priority basis.
Amarinder’s aides including Guru Harsahai MLA Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, Dera Baba Nanak, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Barnala MLA Kewal Dhillon, Kapurthala MLA, Rana Gurjit Singh have already reached there. According to insiders, Captain’s wife, Preneet Kaur is staying back, and will be visiting a few constituencies in his absence.
In a bid to make the visit a success, Amarinder’s OSDs (officer on special duty) Karanpal Singh Sekhon and Major Amardeep are already in the US and have begun preparations.
Rana Sodhi Monday also issued a release from Los Angeles stating that everyone including the NRIs are eagerly awaiting for Captain.
Former MLA Kushaldeep Singh Kiki and Muktsar MLA Karan Kaur Brar are learnt to be abroad already.
Many others, including MLA and district presidents, have already purchased the tickets.
Soures said though the party didn’t want so many leaders to go on a tour at this important juncture, they didn’t want to discourage their enthusiasm.
With Congress busy with its offshore visits, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), meanwhile, are a happy lot. Many feel that by the time Congress leaders return, they would be able to sharpen their prospects in the state. “We have already put up a help desk for farmers in the mandis,” said an AAP leader.
However, AAP’s hopes may be dashed by Congress strategist, Prashant Kishor.
It is learnt that he is preparing to keep the pot boiling in Amarinder’s absence by assigning duties to leaders.
Besides, the state Congress chief has tasked former CLP leader Sunil Kumar Jakhar to look into an alleged scam of disappearance of foodgrains that had caused delay in release of Cash Credit Limit.