‘Punjab Congress leaders unhappy over tickets to turncoats’

New Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS) The rift within the Punjab Congress over distribution of poll tickets is out in the open as certain senior leaders have objected to tickets for political turncoats ahead of the 2017 assembly elections.

Many senior state leaders are unhappy over the manner in which Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh has handled the issue of ticket distribution without taking them into confidence, a senior Congress leader from the poll-bound state told IANS.

“If these people are so popular, why were they denied tickets by their own parties? You are taking Shiromani Akali Dal rejects in your party. Why do you need these rejects from other parties into the Congress?” the leader asked.

He said the senior Congress leaders are up in arms against the Punjab Congress chief.

“Senior state leaders are not happy because Amarinder Singh is trying to bring in a lot of people from other parties. Nobody wants people from other parties to overwhelm the party and take over,” said the Congress leader.

“This is primarily the difference senior Congress leaders have with Amarinder Singh. He is not taking his senior party colleagues into confidence. He wants to build his own team — those who are loyal to him and not the party,” he added.

“When we take in (political) rejects, it shows the internal difference within our own party. That means we are conceding that we are not strong enough on our own to take on other parties,” the disgruntled Congress leader added.

He said the contentious issue was raised with the party high command and it agreed to their view point.

“These concerns have been raised with the Congress high command, which too agreed that we’ll not allow ‘Akalikaran’ of the Congress,” said the leader.

On the other hand, Amarinder Singh — a former Chief Minister — had on Sunday denied differences with the high command over candidates, adding that the list will be out next week.

Amarinder Singh had earlier said the first list of candidates will be out on December 4 and the second by December 8. Last week, he said the list will be finalised by December 8 and announced on December 9 or 10.