Sonia forms high-level panel on poll defeat

Amid raging blame game in Congress following the poll debacle,party president Sonia Gandhi has formed three member high-level committee to examine the reasons for defeat in the recently concluded Assembly elections in three states.

Written by Sukhdeep Kaur | Chandigarh | Published: April 6, 2012 12:55:59 am

Amid raging blame game in Congress following the poll debacle,party president Sonia Gandhi has formed three member high-level committee to examine the reasons for defeat in the recently concluded Assembly elections in three states. The committee comprising Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit,Defence Minister A K Antony and Union Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde will begin by meeting senior Punjab leaders in New Delhi on Friday to hear them out and bring the infighting in the party to an end.

Among those summoned by the central committee are state Congress president Captain Amarinder Singh,Gurdaspur MP Pratap Singh Bajwa,Ludhiana MP Manish Tewari,former leader of Congress Legislative Party Rajinder Kaur Bhattal,Congress Working Committee member Jagmeet Brar,Leader of Opposition Sunil Jakhar and Union Minister Ambika Soni.

Amarinder,who held a meeting of defeated candidates in Chandigarh on Wednesday,reached New Delhi on Thursday with his report on reasons cited by some at the informal tea party. It was submitted to Punjab Affairs in-charge Gulchain Singh Charak who is meeting warring leaders in New Delhi one by one to hear their grievances and convey to them the clear diktat of the high command to end the war of words. While Charak had on Wednesday met Bhattal,Bajwa had called on him on Thursday. Both have blamed Amarinder for the poll defeat.

“The party high command has taken a very serious note of the free go of senior leaders at each other and the orders are to tackle it at the highest level. The central committee will delve into what went wrong and what should be done to bring the party back on a strong footing,” Jakhar,who was in New Delhi,said. Though the party was mulling an introspection exercise during the mid-budget session break,the full-fledged blame game raging in Punjab made the move imperative,a senior leader said.

Meanwhile,both anti and pro-Amarinder camps are upbeat on the constitution of central committee. Leaders like Bhattal and Bajwa,who are learnt to be unhappy after meeting Charak,will be able to take their grouse to the “neutral” central leaders.

Another bete-noire Jagmeet Brar has so far not attacked Amarinder directly but let his brother Ripjit Brar — who lost the Kotkapura seat — take up cudgels against Captain. Brar is hoping to gain from his silence by emerging as a consensus frontrunner for the post of Punjab Congress Committee president. As for the Amarinder camp,it is all prepared to show the support of district presidents,winning and losing candidates to save the presidentship of the beleaguered state chief.

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