With each faction of the divided Congress in Punjab and Haryana vying with each other to mark their presence at the comeback rally of Rahul Gandhi on April 19, the leaders have found a way to show their strength through different colours to impress their leader.
Former Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was the first to issue a pink turban code for his supporters participating in the rally. He held a meeting here last week and his supporters were told to wear pink turbans so that they may be distinguished at the rally. The effort was an apparent bid to outshine Haryana Congress chief Ashok Tanwar who does not see eye-to-eye with Hooda.
Despite the fact that the party high command had appointed Kiran Choudhry as the leader of legislature party, Hooda continues to hold the sway in the party. Fourteen of the total 15 MLAs were present at Hooda’s meeting to discuss arrangements for the rally and the only absence was that of Kiran herself who has opted to side with Tanwar. In response to Hooda’s pink turbans, the Tanwar faction has decided to call supporters to wear Gandhi cap.
“Desh Haryana ke kisanon ka gulabi pagri wala jalwa fir se dekhna chahta hai (Country wants to see the pink turban show of the Haryana farmers). This decision was taken in Delhi in the presence of senior leaders such as Ahmed Patel, Digvijaya Singh and Shakeel Ahmed. We shall ensure that Delhi turns pink on this day,” said Haryana Congress spokesman and a Hooda confidant Ran Singh Mann. However, Hooda was a bit cautious. “They may wear anything. How does it matter? But we will have maximum presence. All is set for the rally,” Hooda said.
Captain Ajay Singh Yadav, who is in the opposite camp, said Gandhi cap was an honour for every Congress man.
On the other hand, Punjab Congress is also heading for a colour turban war. Deputy Leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh directed his supporters to wear saffron turbans at a meeting in Delhi on Thursday. “We have decided to wear saffron turbans. All supporters of Captain will wear saffron turbans at the rally and we will outnumber anybody else,” said Kapurthala MLA Rana Gurjit Singh.
Punjab Congress chief Partap Singh Bajwa, who is at loggerheads with Captain, said, “All wearing turbans other than saffron are my supporters.”
However, Bajwa could not match Captain on numbers and claimed that his 18,000 supporters would reach capital while Captain camp is claiming to take 35,000 workers.
“We shall take 35,000 workers who would colour Delhi in saffron,” claimed Rana Gurjit while Bajwa said that he has appointed observers in each constituency and a total of 18,000 of his supporters would participate in the rally.