The Former Finance Minister in the Akali Dal-led government in Punjab and the nephew of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Manpreet Singh Badal today merged his own party PPP with the Punjab Congress.
Manpreet had launched his own outfit called People’s Party of Punjab after having differences with his uncle Prakash Singh Badal and his cousin Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Today Manpreet merged his party with the Congress. It was also reported that an uneasy confab had taken place between the Punjab Congress Chief Amarinder Singh.
Before merging his party, Manpreet had met Rahul Gandhi at his residence where Amarinder Singh and AICC General Secretary Shakeel Ahmad were also present.
The merger was announced at the Congress headquarters here in the presence of Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and party leaders Shakeel Ahmed, Ambika Soni and Partap Singh Bajwa. Manpreet said that talks regarding merger of parties had been in the works for some months now. He said he had met Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi thrice and his emphasis was on the “agenda of Punjab”.
"How will you turn over Punjab, that was the agenda. We submitted an 11-point memorandum and the Congress accepted it and said it was its own agenda also,” Manpreet said.
"We felt Congress will be good, right and only platform. We were treated with a lot of respect. They won our hearts," he added.
Asked why his party did not join hands with the Aam Aadmi Party, he said that "they do not have a blueprint to turn around Punjab".
Earlier Manpreet Badal had fought the 2014 General elections against Sukhbir Singh Badal’s wife Harsimrat Kaur Badal from Bhatinda on a Congress ticket.
Here are some of the highlights of the press conference:
- "We are very happy. Manpreet Badal has merged his party with us... Hope we will be able to forge a strong alliance for the elections,” said Captain Amarinder Singh.
- Party was working towards alliance as it had lost the last two elections.
- Identified the Left parties and the Bahujan Samaj Party as potential allies.
- Manpreet Badal said his party was merging with the Congress unconditionally.
- Punjab was once the leading states of the country but has now badly lost its position.
- Talk about merging PPP with Congress was in the works for some months.
- He said he met Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi thrice and his emphasis was “on agenda of Punjab”.
(With inputs from IANS)