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Manpreet Badal join Congress party today

Fri 15 Jan 2016, 16:20:37

Manpreet Badal, the estranged nephew of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, today joined Congress and merged his outfit, People's Party of Punjab, (PPP) with it after meeting Rahul Gandhi.

Making the announcement at a press conference here, AICC general secretary and in-charge of Punjab Congress affairs, Shakeel Ahmed, said, "We are happy that PPP under Manpreet Singh Badal has today merged with Congress."

He was flanked by Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh and Manpreet Badal, besides senior Congress leader Ambika Soni and former PCC chief Pratap Singh Bajwa.

"We are happy that Manpreet ji joined us. His entire party met (Congress Vice President) Rahul ji. We are starting our campaign on a good note. We are now looking for an alliance for the next election. We are trying to get all secular forces against fundamentalist force," Amarinder said.

He said that Congress had lost the last Assembly elections in 2012 by a 0.8 per cent vote share while PPP had got 5 per cent of the votes. "Had we come together, we could have saved Punjab," he said.

Manpreet, who was the state Finance Minister in 2010, quit the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal after differences cropped up between him and his uncle Parkash Singh Badal and cousin Sukhbir Singh Badal.

Talking about the development today, he said that Congress is "the right platform" for PPP's agenda, which is the growth of Punjab. He said he had quit as Finance Minister in the SAD government because he did not agree with the policies of the Akali government.

"We feel Congress will be a good, and actually the right and only platform, where we can carry forward our Punjab agenda," he said at the AICC press conference.

He said that neither him nor any PPP worker would accept any party position until they won the hearts of every Congress worker.

"Without any pre-conditions to this alliance, I, and my PPP workers, will not take any position or responsibility in the Congress," he announced.

Manpreet said that PPP had tried to awaken the people of Punjab in the last few years and worked under an alliance with Congress for the past two-and-a-half years or so.

"This merger (of Congress, PPP) has taken about six long months after talks with party leaders. I have met Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on three occasions on how to turn around Punjab and carry forward our agenda that was discussed threadbare."

He said that he had presented an 11-point memorandum to Rahul and the Congress had accepted all the points. "This agenda is now the Congress agenda," he said.

PPP had launched a movement for the betterment of Punjab and to rid it of ills like illiteracy, drug addiction and corruption, he said.

Manpreet said that when he was born, Punjab was a jewel and the top state, but it has now seen a slide and is no longer the "jewel of India".


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