With the Congress High Command reportedly indicating to deputy leader of Congress in the Lok Sabha Captain Amarinder Singh that he would not be entrusted with the leadership of the party’s Punjab unit, his supporters are keen on giving the impression that he is “on the verge of floating a new party.”
According to loyalists, the Amarinder camp, that had been earlier busy poaching loyalists of PPCC chief Partap Singh Bajwa, has started the exercise of ‘marking’ party MLAs, former MLAs and workers who might be interested in joining a new outfit.
A few leaders in the AAP, BJP and SAD have been identified and were being approached by Amarinder’s aides, sources said. The idea, they said, was to create a ‘third front’ in the state. Leaders who are disillusioned with their respective parties were being contacted, the sources said.
However, officially the Amarinder camp denies any efforts to float a new party. Amarinder had recently said he would continue to be a “loyal soldier of the Congress.” However, sources in his camp say he was “exasperated” after the AICC considered naming a senior leader from Delhi as the next PPCC chief.
Bajwa had recently submitted a ‘dossier’ on Amarinder to the party High Command, claiming there were enough indications that the latter was working on forming a “splinter group” aimed at weakening the Congress.
Bajwa supporters claim that efforts are on to get Amarinder expelled from the party. Amarinder had, however, hosted several Congress leaders at a dinner recently.
Amarinder’s supporters allege that with the party not taking a decision on a change in leadership in Punjab, the party cadre is fast shifting to AAP. They claimed that the party High Command had recently conducted a survey that reportedly said the Congress stood no chance of forming the government in Punjab.