Punjab Congress leaders led by state Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring Tuesday passed a resolution to seek “formal expulsion” of Preneet Kaur, Patiala MP and wife of former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, from the party by the high command. “Preneet Kaur is no longer in the Congress party. It is just a formality that she is to be expelled. We have passed a resolution to that effect today,” Warring told The Indian Express.
Several Congress leaders sought Preneet to be shown the door from the party during the meeting. Her husband and former Punjab CM, after he was unceremoniously made to quit as Punjab CM by the Congress high command, had floated own outfit Punjab Lok Congress and had contested in a seat-sharing arrangement with the BJP, losing badly in February 20 Punjab elections. Preneet had supported Amarinder and had also campaigned for PLC-BJP alliance.
The resolution was passed at a meeting of Punjab Congress leaders, including sitting MLAs, MPs and the party nominees who had contested February 20 elections. A good number of Congress leaders were conspicuous by their absence, something Warring attributed to their “preoccupations”.
Those who were not present included Congress MLA from Bholath Sukhpal Singh Khaira (with whom Warring was locked in a dispute relating to extending support to Congress leaders facing criminal cases), former Punjab Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana K P Singh, party MPs Ravneet Bittu and Gurjeet Aujla.
Congress MLA from Qadian and leader of opposition Partap Singh Bajwa, who had angrily left Punjab Congress Bhawan in a huff after the premises gate was not opened to let his vehicle in recently, was among those present during the meeting. He sought to project all party leaders equally on party’s social media platform instead of “a selected few”.
Warring, when contacted, however, played it down saying that party leaders had been asked to make available content for two main leaders in each constituency which would be shared on social media. Warring added, “As of now there is no dedicated social media cell of the party.”
The meeting, held to mobilise Congress activists for the September 4 rally being organised by the party in Delhi against inflation, was chaired by All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary in charge Harish Chaudhary at Punjab Congress Bhawan.
On Sunday, Bajwa who was in Patiala had asked Preneet to quit the party on her own if she had any “self-esteem left”. A section of Congress leaders in Punjab believe that the BJP will field Preneet in next elections in the state; it could be Vidhan Sabha or Lok Sabha elections.
Giving details of September 4 rally, Warring said, “Congress workers from Punjab will reach Delhi on the same day and they will gather at two places on the Delhi outskirts from where they will all go together to the rally venue. It was decided that each MLA and constituency representatives will bring along a limited number of people only. This was being done to avoid overcrowding since people from other northern states will also join the protest, besides those from the national capital.” “The meeting also deliberated upon the arrangements for the Bharat Jodo Yatra, which will reach Punjab during its last leg. The Yatra will remain in Punjab for over a week and will touch most constituencies before entering Jammu and Kashmir,” Warring said.