House not in order, Cong ‘unable’ to accept Sanjha Morcha invite

The Congress has expressed its inability to accept the invite of Sanjha Morcha for an all-opposition parties meet on November 20 to chalk out a common agenda against the ruling SAD-BJP alliance government in Punjab.

The Congress says it can not hold parley with the Sanjha Morcha or any other opposition party till the issue of leadership in the state unit of the party is settled.

"We welcome their call for all opposition meet. But the state Congress is awaiting a decision from the party president (AICC chief Sonia Gandhi) on the issue of leadership. It is not possible to hold talks with other parties till it is settled," state Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh said.

Earlier in September, Sanjha Morcha chairman and People's Party of Punjab president Manpreet Badal had "politely turned down" Amarinder's request for joining the anti-tax protests. He had also dismissed all talks of a poll alliance. In October, however, he invited all the opposition parties to come together in the interest of Punjab.

"The role of Opposition is to ensure that ruling dispensation's misdeeds are highlighted and public pressure is built. The situation in Punjab requires all the political parties to collectively protest against prevailing misrule," Manpreet had said. Amarinder had welcomed the proposal.

But the scenario changed after Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi came visiting Punjab in October fuelling speculations on change of guard in the state party unit.

Incidentally, the call for unity has divided both the Congress and the Sanjha Morcha. While some in Congress, such as MP Pratap Bajwa welcomed the move, Amarinder's bete noire Rajinder Kaur Bhattal questioned his authority to hold talks with other parties without taking senior party leaders into confidence. The two communist parties in Sanjha Morcha too have expressed their reservations on a truck with Congress. The Morcha partners were more eager to align with India Against Corruption led by Arvind Kejriwal but sources said since IAC is devoting its time to making exposes than creating organisational structure, Manpreet finds Congress a safer bet.

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