SPOILS BEFORE THE WIN
The Congress with Captain Amarinder Singh as its Chief Ministerial face is generally considered to be on a winning wicket in Punjab. Yet, once again it is the party itself that is proving to be its worst enemy, as wrangling over tickets takes over the campaign. Party spokesperson and former I&B Minister Manish Tewari was keen to contest the Assembly elections from Ludhiana East, but his ticket is apparently being opposed by the MP from the area, Ravinder Singh Bittu. Again for Bhatinda Urban, two former state ministers wanted the same seat — both Surinder Singh Singla and Manpreet Badal (who was Finance Minister with the SAD before he joined the Congress). Finally, Badal seems to have won the ticket. Then there is the Partap Singh Bajwa camp that is trying to get its own nominations past the Amarinder Singh camp. Of course, the one enjoying all this the most is Sukhbir Badal, who recently commented that “everyone in Congress wants to be the CM”. Oh dear, and that too before the state has been won.
Why didn’t the NCP, BSP and SP join the Congress delegation when it went to call on the President of India to complain of a winter session washout? Well, initially it was to be a united Opposition effort, but the three Opposition parties were miffed at Rahul Gandhi’s last minute initiative to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ask for a farmers’ loan waiver. This was meant to be a Congress delegation to the PM, but suddenly Rahul decided to join them. This reach-out did not go down well with the rest of the Opposition, specially the BSP and the SP, whom the Congress is taking on in the cow-belt. They claimed that they could have easily joined the delegation and raised the farmers’ cause. For it’s not just the Congress that is concerned about the farmers. But maybe that’s just the message the Congress wanted to send out, and scored a self goal in the process.