Updated: January 4, 2022 10:06:18 am
Two-time MLA from Ludhiana West and Punjab’s food, civil supplies & consumer affairs minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu (50), is among the latest in Punjab Congress to go vocal on his grievances with party’s state president Navjot Singh Sidhu. A close confidant of Rahul Gandhi, Ashu had started his political career as a young Congress councilor in Ludhiana MC in 1997. A prominent Hindu face for the Congress, he is currently the go-to man of the Ludhiana Congress. Excerpts from an interview with The Indian Express:
How do you see the recent developments in Punjab Congress ahead of Assembly polls?
We have a party ideology, a good CM (Charanjit Singh Channi), Navjot Singh Sidhu as Punjab Congress president and a veteran like (former PCC chief) Sunil Jakhar as the head of the campaigning committee. Now it all depends on the ticket distribution. If it is done in a fair manner, we have a better chance of winning compared to all other parties.
Recently, you went vocal with your grievances against PPCC president Navjot Singh Sidhu. What are the issues?
Our party’s state president (Navjot Sidhu) has been pitching his own ‘Punjab model’ of governance even in the public rallies. In Congress, it has always been about the ‘Congress model’ which the party finalizes, not any individual’s model. This should not happen at all, if the party has said that we have to fight these polls collectively, then it means we have to fight these polls collectively. If the party president won’t enforce discipline, then how can the party survive?
As a senior party leader, have you formally raised this issue with party high command?
Yes, we raise these issues on the suitable platforms. We can’t raise them openly. We cannot do what he (Sidhu) is doing. There is a party discipline that we all have to follow. Whenever there is some new announcement or any decision by our government, the first criticism, that too in public, comes from him (Sidhu). He should stop doing this.
Do you agree with Sidhu portraying himself as the CM face?
No I don’t, elections have to be fought under collective leadership. We all should be seen together. If someone prefers to stay away because of their own individualistic approach, then it is not appreciable and completely wrong.
SAD has been alleging that the Congress government has played witch hunt politics by booking Bikram Singh Majthia in a drug case. Sidhu said that he won’t rest till Majithia wasn’t arrested. Your comments.
If someone makes any comment on something that is still under police investigation, then it only proves to be harmful for the case in the court. He (Sidhu) is proving SAD’s allegations to be right by giving such statements on the Majithia case which he should not, till the matter is sub-judice.
It is being said that you may be the next from the Congress to switch over to the BJP.
A false narrative is being floated, which is completely hollow. Issue is being created out of nothing saying that the party symbol is missing from the posters put up in my constituency. Right now, the posters in my constituency are only about developmental works which we have carried out in the past five years, not the election campaign. When we ask for votes during campaigning, then the party symbol and photos of senior party leaders will be there on them. It is only the underconfident MLAs who were unsure of getting tickets, who are leaving the party. They knew they were non-performers and now trying to find space in other parties.
Earlier it was Sidhu vs Captain Amarinder Singh and now it is Sidhu vs Channi going on in Punjab.
Yes, it is going on and that too in public. It has to be stopped soon else it is going to harm us in the long run. Party high command is taking note of it. It is only the party high command that can intervene and solve issues between Sidhu and Channi. Only they can teach discipline to Sidhu and they should do it at the earliest because otherwise it is harming the entire Punjab Congress ahead of elections.
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