HOURS after the Congress suspended former Deputy Speaker Bir Devinder Singh from its primary membership, for his outburst against Punjab unit president Capt Amarinder Singh, the party’s election strategist Prashant Kishor went into damage-control mode, met the veteran leader and placated him.
In a closed-door meeting that went on for over an hour late on Thursday, Bir Devinder, sources said, was promised a more active role in the party. Sources added that both Amarinder and Bir would now bury the hatchet publicly and work together. They added that former MP Jagmeet Brar would also be approached in the coming days.
A senior party leader said Kishor had taken it upon himself to pacify and actively involve all disgruntled leaders in the Congress poll campaign. “Everything would soon be sorted. Those who think Congress will be marred by bickering will just have to keep waiting,” said the leader.
Kishor was in Hoshiarpur for a party workers’ meet, early on Thursday, when Amarinder suspended Devinder in the morning. He, however, met the former deputy speaker in Chandigarh. Bir had been called from Patiala.
“The meeting went on well. We discussed the scenario in Punjab. I have been asked to be tight-lipped about the meeting. I cannot tell anything more. All I can say is that the outcome would be positive. I feel valued that Prashant met me,” Bir told The Indian Express after the meeting.
On his suspension, he said, “I do not know I have been suspended. If I have been suspended then I can say that Amarinder would have put his sagacity and wisdom at stake while deciding action against me. As my vocal chords had dried up when I canvassed for him in Amritsar, I am sure he would have been pained by this decision”.
Bir Devinder had, however, said he would fight for the righteousness and truth, earlier in the day.
“I am not going to compromise with the corruption. I am not going to betray traditions laid down by us in the Vidhan Sabha. Whatever may be the circumstances, I will not surrender. I stand by each line and each word, I have said. Whatever I wrote against him was the manifestation of sentiments of many Congressmen. I should have rather been appreciated. He has taken a destructive path and destroy himself as well as the party in Punjab,” he had said. His tone though changed after the meeting.
Earlier, while suspending Bir Devinder from primary membership of the party with immediate effect, Amarinder had constituted a committee, headed by his loyalist MLA, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, and Ajaib Singh Bhatti and Rana KP Singh as members, to look into the matter. Devinder was asked to reply to the committee by April 7 as to why no further action should be taken against him.
Brar gets notice
Former Congress MP Jagmeet Brar was issued a show cause notice by the party’s general secretary incharge, Dr Shakeel Ahmad, on Tuesday for his outburst against the party and Amarinder, said sources. Jagmeet has been quiet ever since. Refusing to divulge anything about the show cause, Dr Ahmad said, “He has not said anything for the last two days.” Jagmeet was not available for comments.