The recent formation of the Indian National Development Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) by the Opposition has left the Punjab Congress leadership in a state of dilemma. Allegations of political vendetta by the AAP government in Punjab against Congress leaders, coupled with rumors of a potential alliance between the two parties, have caused disquiet among the party ranks.
A senior Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) leader stated, “While we understand the central leadership’s move to oppose the BJP’s ordinance on central services rules, anything beyond that will not be acceptable to us.”
Leader of the Opposition, Partap Singh Bajwa, has consistently voiced his opposition to the alliance. He has already conveyed his concerns to Sonia Gandhi and AICC chief Mallikarjun Kharge, and plans to discuss the matter further with Rahul Gandhi.
Despite reports of a possible alliance, the Congress has denied any such plans. “The party high command has asked us to prepare for all 13 Lok Sabha seats. The speculation being spread by the BJP is merely an attempt to unsettle us,” the Punjab Congress leader asserted.
At a recent internal party meeting, several leaders expressed apprehension that this alliance could jeopardize their role as the principal opposition party. Many MLAs and ex-MLAs who attended the meeting raised concerns about the impact on their cadres and the ability to criticize the ruling party, which has been their primary agenda.
Sukhpal Khaira, the former Leader of the Opposition and MLA from Bholath, who has been actively targeting the AAP leadership on social media, also expressed discontent over the potential alliance.
Karamjit Kaur, the wife of the late Congress MP Chaudhary Santokh Singh from Jalandhar, who recently lost in the elections, said, “I am confident that the party leadership understands the sentiment at the ground level. I don’t believe there will be any seat sharing.”
Even Congress MPs are hesitant to discuss the issue openly. Anandpur Sahib Congress MP Manish Tewari commented, “It is still eight months until the Lok Sabha polls. It might be too early to speculate on the issue now.”
The Punjab Congress leadership finds itself at a crossroads, weighing the potential benefits and risks of aligning with the Opposition’s INDIA coalition. As the political landscape evolves in the lead-up to the 2024 elections, their decision will undoubtedly shape the future course of politics in the state.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Khalsa Vox or its members.