The list that has rocked the Congress in Punjab
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The list for a reorganised Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee was meant to please all with its 300 names, including those of 14 vice-presidents, 35 general secretaries, 61 secretaries and 27 district chiefs besides 148 executive members. It has ended up leading to a revolt, marked by a series of resignations.
PCC president Partap Singh Bajwa has upset not only those he left out but also many he made executive members, allegedly to sideline them. Many of the executive members are loyal to former chief ministers Capt Amarinder Singh and Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, whose camps would have rather had them among the office-bearers. Those denied the posts they wanted have called Bajwa immature, besides accusing him of nepotism: his friends and members of his family are among the office-bearers. Also among those in plum posts are leaders whom their rivals accuse of having worked against party candidates in the last assembly elections.
At least two dozen party leaders named executive members have sent in their resignations; these include several former ministers such as Chaudhary Jagjit, Malkiat Birmi, Rakesh Pandey, Amarjit Samra and Chaudhary Santokh Singh.
The list was declared on December 27. Among the first voices of dissent were those of Kharar MLA Jagmohan Kang and Malti Thapar. Soon, Amarinder and Bhattal went to New Delhi where, along with union minister Perneet Kaur, they complained to Sonia Gandhi and Shakeel Ahmed, general secretary-in-charge of party affairs in Punjab.
Bajwa fuelled the fire when he announced the list had been prepared in consultation with district presidents and the high command and that it had the "stamp of Sonia". Angry leaders called up the leadership in Delhi, leading to Shakeel Ahmed making an announcement that they were ready to include more names. The resignations continued nevertheless, while some leaders skipped the first meeting of the reorgainsed PCC Monday.