Updated: January 27, 2022 7:44:46 pm
Former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the Golden Temple on Thursday had one this missing – five party MPs from the Punjab who stayed away triggering speculation that they were upset in run-up to the crucial state Assembly polls. Those missing were MPs Manish Tewari, Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Ravneet Bittu, Mohd Sadiq and Preneet Kaur.
Rahul, meanwhile, was flanked by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and party’s state unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. After offering prayers at the Golden Temple along with party’s candidates for Assembly polls, Rahul partook ‘langar’ as a tweet from his official handle declared that he prayed at Harimandar Sahib for Punjab’s future.
Among those missing, Tewari had raised questions about Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi in the recent past. His absence made his differences more conspicuous. His aide, however, said he was travelling to Nurpur Bedi and other areas on Thursday and hence couldn’t be there.
Dimpa has been upset with the party after Congress denied him a ticket from Khadoor Sahib. His key aide, Satinder Singh Chajjalwaddi, joined the Akali Dal after being denied a seat. He was declared Akali Dal’s candidate from Jandiala.
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Dimpa, however, said that he did not boycott Rahul’s show, but was not invited by anyone.
“I thought they wanted to invite only 117 Assembly candidates. I did not get any invite from the CM, AICC in-charge or the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee,” he added.
Mohd Sadiq said that he was not able to go to Golden Temple as his sister-in-law had passed away.
Preneet Kaur, who is the wife of former CM Amarinder Singh, has been staying away from party activities ever since her husband was ousted as the CM. A number of MPs had supported Amarinder during a rebellion against him.
Thursday’s visit was Rahul’s first to the poll-bound state after the election dates were announced on January 8 by the Election Commission of India.
Channi, Sidhu and deputy chief ministers Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and O P Soni earlier received Rahul at the Amritsar airport on his arrival from Delhi. Rahul later visited Jallianwala Bagh, Durgiana Temple and the Bhagwan Valmiki Tirath Sthal.
(WITH PTI INPUTS)
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