Six months after Partap Singh Bajwa was crowned as the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) President,the party continues to be in disarray marred by open dissidence and severe groupism.
Though Bajwa’s worst critics admit that as the new president he has worked hard to rejuvenate the party workers through the mass contact programme but he has miserably failed in earning the trust of party leaders. If anything,say his detractors,he has made the situation worse by creating an atmosphere of mistrust even among his own supporters.
At a time when in villages even speaking against SAD led to the local Akali leaders hounding Congress workers,Bajwa has put the confidence back in the workers. He has gone across Punjab,met people,held rallies,organized fairly successful dharnas and flagged serious issues. He almost managed the impossible of being everywhere at the same time. His sheer mobility became a cause of worry for the Akalis, points out a senior Congress leader.
But his biggest problem is that he does not trust anyone. Not even those who show him their unstinted support. He is secretive even about public plans and party activities. Those who are backing him fully also feel cheated. He is alienating his own men. Till he creates a think tank and a core planning group using his trusted generals Bajwa will not succeed, added the Congressman.
Party leaders across all groups are also blaming Bajwa for the Narendra Modi gherao fiasco that took place in Delhi on September 29. Bajwa had planned to gather almost 10000 farmers from Punjab and gherao Narindra Modi in the Gujarat Bhawan. However the whole show flopped as majority of the buses which were ferrying the farmers from Punjab were not allowed to enter Delhi. Also it was alleged that Bajwa had gathered the farmers on the pretext that they would get to meet Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.
Bajwa did not take any of his men into confidence. He was super secretive about the plan. No one knew what the whole show was about. Had the farmers been told that they are going to gherao Narendra Modi then also they would have been mobilized. Also we should have gone with full fanfare and not like we did. We put in so much effort and money but the whole thing failed. We also ended up getting so much of negative publicity, said another Congress leader.
Most Congressmen however do not blame Bajwa for the open defiance shown by Raja Sansi MLA Suhvinder Sarkaria against Bajwa. This was a localised impact of Bajwa having shown open support to O.P. Soni,who Sarkaria is against, pointed out another Congress leader. He added that Congress was a divided house in Punjab with major trust deficit among the key players. Not just Bajwa it would have been difficult for even leaders like Captain Amarinder,Sunil Jakhar and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal to handle the situation, he said.
The forthcoming visit of Rahul Gandhi to Sangrur too has raised heckles among Congressmen. Bajwa has made Kharar MLA Jagmohan Singh Kang as the incharge of organising the visit while the whole credit for getting Rahul to Sangrur is of the Sangrur MP Vijayinder Singla.
Many say that the Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbir Badal have set the SAD cat among the Congress pigeons. Given the situation where no effort is being put in to build mutual trust,rumors of SAD trying to pull in senior Congress leaders into its fold are causing further damage. Everyone is doubting one another. Rumours are being spread even about some of the top leaders of the party that they are in talks with SAD, said a Congressman.