Close on the heels of Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s stock-taking exercise, AICC observers are touring Punjab to feel the pulse of party cadre and leaders before 2014 Lok Sabha polls. The exercise is on in the entire state to get a feedback on sitting MPs and other contenders for the 13 parliamentary constituencies in the state, eight of which are held by the Congress.
The initial survey reports may brew trouble for some sitting MPs, who have not been able to evoke a positive feedback on their performance and winning prospects during discreet enquires made by the observers from block and district presidents, frontal organisations like Mahila Congress, Sewa Dal and Youth Congress, besides senior leaders.
According to sources in the AICC, the feedback is not good for five out of the party’s eight MPs, including two youth MPs from Rahul’s team.
There seems to be anti-incumbency within the party rank and file against their own leaders like Santosh Chaudhary, who represents the Hoshiarpur reserved seat, and Mohinder Singh Kaypee, who represents Jalandhar. Reports on Fatehgarh Sahib MP Sukhdev Singh Libra are also not good. Anandpur Sahib MP Ravneet Singh Bittu and Sangrur MP Vijay Inder Singla are also not high on the popularity charts though being Rahul’s poster boys in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls.
While Patiala MP and Union minister Preneet Kaur is still looking good, Gurdaspur MP Pratap Singh Bajwa is also seen as a winning bet. In case of Union minister Manish Tewari, his ascendency to the ministry seems to have bolstered his otherwise not-so-bright prospects.
Other than collecting feedback on candidates, the observers are also trying to gauge the problems in the organisation such as lack of coordination, local issues and area’s development.
Mahila Cong demands 4 seats for LS polls
The Punjab Mahila Congress has demanded at least four seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections during discussions with party observers visiting different constituencies in the state. Speaking at a state-level meeting in Chandigarh, Mahila Congress president Malti Thapar said: “We will press the visiting observers to ensure the the party high command gives 33 per cent representation to women during ticket distribution. Currently, there are two woman Congress MPs from Punjab.”