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Rahul Gandhi abroad, list and campaign on hold, Punjab Congress leaders get restive

After the announcement of polling day earlier this week, Congress leaders were hoping Rahul would cut short his holiday.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
January 7, 2017 8:49:09 am
Congress flags being carted from one rally venue to another in Moga. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh) Congress flags being carted from one rally venue to another in Moga. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

The Punjab Congress is eagerly awaiting the return of AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi from his new year’s foreign jaunt to declare remaining 40 party candidates and get rolling its campaign, which is virtually on a standstill in these constituencies. Gandhi is scheduled to return on January 9.

After the announcement of polling day earlier this week, Congress leaders were hoping Rahul would cut short his holiday. “Our camp was abuzz till yesterday that he would come back today. But this has not happened. We have been told he is returning on January 9. This is shocking as when all other parties are in campaign mode, our senior leader is holidaying,” said a ticket seeker who is camping in Delhi.

State Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh came to Chandigarh on Thursday evening and spent Friday here, a number of colleagues made a beeline to his residence in sector 10. It was after a long time that the state chief was available in Chandigarh. He has been camping in Delhi for over 45 days and came here only for one or two days in between.

Things have come to such a pass that Sandeep Singh Sunny Brar, a party leader who was denied ticket from Faridkot, was appointed OSD in the midst of a media conference addressed by Amarinder on Friday. Amarinder signed on the appointment paper while answering media queries.

Amarinder would go back to Delhi on Saturday for meetings of the screening committee. The Central Election Committee (CEC) of Congress would meet only after Rahul’s return. As Amarinder stays away from Punjab, the campaign is virtually on hold. “We should have been in the field organising rallies, meetings and other programmes. But we are not even seen. Even the party cadres are not able to see their state president. It is frustrating,” said a leader.

Amarinder, while addressing the media on Friday, said the delay in tickets would not matter as it was the same with all the parties. “BJP has not declared a single candidate yet. We have enough time,” he said.

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