Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Wednesday said more senior Congress leaders were set to join the SAD in the next few days and that no desperate “homecoming” appeals as were being made by the beleaguered Amritsar Congress candidate Capt Amarinder Singh would have any effect on them.
“Senior Congress leaders are ringing me up at all hours with requests to join the SAD”, said Sukhbir Singh Badal here. He said many Congress leaders were themselves coming to his residence appealing they be admitted to the SAD forthwith. “I am myself overwhelmed by the manner in which the senior rank and file of the Congress is deserting the party,” he added.
The SAD President said keeping in view the requests made by senior Congress leaders he would be holding interactions with the media in the next few days and induct them into the SAD.
Stating that the induction of Congress leaders at the grass root level had been a continuous process since the last nearly two years, he said “It is the desertion of the grass root leaders at the village and block level which has given the jitters to the senior leaders and is the main reason why they too want to desert the Congress ship”.
The SAD President said the “homecoming” appeal made by Capt Singh was laughable. ” Firstly he has no authority to make the appeal having lost out to Mr Partap Bajwa as far as Presidentship of the State Congress unit is concerned. Secondly Capt Singh himself has been absent from Punjab for more than one year. How can the Congress cadre trust him considering he is making the appeal now when forced to contest from Amritsar despite his extreme reluctance. Lastly the Raja presided over the mass exodus of Congress workers in the run up to the last assembly elections. He was widely accused of behaving like the Roman emperor Nero and being totally oblivious to the wants the needs of his party workers who begged him for audiences which he never gave”.
In the statement here, Mr Badal said “It is good you are realising the worth and might of the ordinary party worker whom you and your royal coterie always treated with disdain till now. It is the ordinary party worker which makes or breaks a politician as you will see in your contest in Amritsar. I know you are already feeling the pinch with the Congress worker staying away from your campaign”.
The SAD President advised Capt Singh to mend his ways and start afresh in politics to regain the trust of ordinary workers. “You have been making fun of ‘sangat darshan’ programmes and the people contact of chief minister Parkash Singh Badal. But it is this programme and the people contact that has brought the government close to hearts of the people, including Congress men who have seen through your divisive and opportune politics”, he added.