Dharna outside CM's house: Congress more aggressive than ever in Punjab
The Congress is showing an unprecedented level of aggression in Punjab, with state party chief Captain Amarinder Singh leading the way.
From storming into police stations to holding overnight dharnas and issuing threats to the police and the administration to stop dancing to the tunes of the ruling Akali-BJP alliance, the Congress has done it all over the last one month.
Till a few months ago, the Congress leadership was facing criticism for going soft with its campaign. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was said to be gaining the upper hand by organising aggressive protests and campaigns at the grass-root level, while the Congress was busy setting its own house in order, appeasing its heavyweights and ticket aspirants.
But then, there was a storm in the AAP ranks following the departure of its state convener Succha Singh Chhotepur, along with revolts over the distribution of tickets. Then, the SAD-BJP government decided to vacate border villages, following surgical strikes by Indian forces across the Line of Control (LoC).
Both these factors gave the Congress an opportunity to display its own brand of aggressive politics, which it has been known for in Punjab. For that matter, aggression has always jelled with the psyche of the Punjabi electorate, which wants to see action on the ground instead of meek promises.
Protest at CM's residence
The latest in the series is a dharna by Congress legislators, under Leader of the Opposition Charanjit Singh Channi, outside the residence of his neighbour and Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
For two nights, Congress legislators sat on the dharna, demanding action against top police officers in Ludhiana for allegedly siding with the Youth Akali Dal (YAD) workers in a tiff over burning a 'Chitta' Ravan on Dussehra.
'Chitta' is one of the most popular synthetic drugs consumed by addicts across Punjab, and the Akalis are offended by its very name, as they have been targeted by the Opposition for the rampant drug abuse in the state.
Congress workers, led by local MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, were not only beaten up, but cases were also registered against them. This led to the Congress's demand for the transfer of Police Commissioner Jatinder Aulakh, and the suspension of Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Jaswinder Singh, besides the withdrawal of cases against the Congress workers.
Amarinder himself joined the protesters, giving them a further fillip. In a fiery speech, he said: "Is it your (Akali) guilty conscience that gets pricked and causes you to get goose bumps over the very mention of 'Chitta'? By resorting to violence against burning of the 'Chitta' Ravan, the Akalis have actually admitted to their guilt of being synonymous with 'Chitta'."
He questioned why there was no action when effigies of Badal and his deputy Sukhbir Badal were burnt in Amritsar on Dussehra.
"Today, people are only burning your effigies, tomorrow they will actually be after your life. People will not even wait for the elections; they are simply waiting for the model code of conduct to be enforced before they start venting their anger against the Badals," he said.
Amarinder said Congressmen will be asked to burn effigies of the 'Chitta' Ravan in all the Assembly segments across the state.