Surjit Barnala becomes congressman, merges SAD(Longowal) Into Congress

Chandigarh: PPCC chief Partap Singh Bajwa along with Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) president Surjit Singh Barnala and Bibi Rajinder Kaur Bhattal Ex-CM Pb jointly addressing the media persons at the chandigarh press club on Saturday.

After the former Finance Minister Manpreet Badal-led People’s Party of Punjab extending support to the Congress bartering with Bathinda parliamentary seat, another ‘sinking ship’ — Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) is all set to announce its support to the Congress “officially” on Saturday.

SAD (Longowal) and the PPP are the constituents of the Sanjha Morcha, floated ahead 2012 Assembly polls. Other constituents — Communist Party of India (CPI), and CPI (Marxist) — moved out of the Morcha following Manpreet’s decision to join hands with the Congress.

Sanjha Morcha, including the PPP, failed to bag even a single seat in Punjab Assembly elections, and managed to bag 5.5 per cent share in the total votes polled. In fact, the two parties, which are joining hands with the Congress, hold no significance in the Punjab politics, and have failed to gain any ground.

Assuming it as a big move, the Congress party has set the stage to welcome the Barnalas in the party fold with much pomp and show. “There was a move that all opposition parties should join hand against the anti-people SAD-BJP combine…earlier the votes used to get divided in all these different parties, now they will be accumulated and benefit the Congress and allied parties,” a senior Congress leader told The Pioneer.

The decision came after the former Punjab Chief Minister Surjit Singh Barnala met the Congress national president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday at her residence in New Delhi. After the meeting, Barnala assured support of SAD (Longowal), led by his wife Surjit Kaur Barnala, to Congress candidates in Punjab in the Lok Sabha polls.

Already, Manpreet has entered the electoral battlefield against his sister-in-law and sitting MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal from Bathinda as Congress-PPP’s combine candidate.

During initial talks, Manpreet had bargained two seats from the Congress — Bathinda for PPP and Faridkot for the CPI. Though manpreet’s decision has not gone down well with the Left parties who break away with the Sanjha Morcha, the SAD (Longowal) raised no objection over Manpreet’s talks with Congress.

The Morcha came into being when CPI, CPI(M), PPP and SAD (Longowal) joined hands in 2011 and contested the state elections in 2012, but failed to open its account. It had then termed both SAD-BJP and Congress as equal enemies. But after a few months, PPP had joined hands with Congress for Zila Parishad elections and won a few seats.

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