Soon after Charanjit Singh Channi took oath as Punjab chief minister, the tables have turned for his predecessor Capt Amarinder Singh’s loyalists.
The new government brought back former Cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa’s close confidant Kastoori Lal Seth as Batala Improvement Trust chairman on Wednesday.
Less than a month ago, on August 31, Kastoori Lal had been replaced by Pawan Kumar Pamma, said to be a close confidant of former PPCC president Partap Singh Bajwa.
Similarly, Tript Rajinder Bajwa’s aide Rajinder Singh was again appointed chairman of the Batala Market Committee on Wednesday. Rajinder Singh was removed on August 31, and replaced by Gurinder Singh, who is considered close to Partap Singh.
Partap Singh Bajwa and his supporters had remained isolated in the Amarinder Singh government and it was only after the recent patch-up between him and the Capt that the former was getting a share in government.
Partap Singh had not only started receiving invitations as chief guest in official functions but had also managed to hit hard his rival within the party Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa by removing his men from the post of market committee chief and chairman, Improvement Trust.
Partap Singh had declared that he would contest Assembly elections from Gurdaspur district. He however focused on Batala Assembly during the few weeks he got after a patch-up with Amarinder. Besides, Tript Rajinder Bajwa was also working aggressively in Batala for last four years though he was MLA from Qadian. Both had an old rivalry and Batala become the fresh bone of contention.
Partap Singh Bajwa had got the upper hand. However, Tripat Rajinder hit back as soon as Channi became chief minister.
Talking to media after his re-appointment, Kasroori Lal Seth said, “I was forcefully removed because I was man of Tript Rajinder Bajwa. Partap Singh Bajwa shouldn’t have done this. He wanted to contest from Batala. He thought he would increase his votes by appointing his man. But he was wrong. I challenge Partap Singh Bajwa to now increase votes from Batala.”
Amritsar Improvement Trust Chairman Dinesh Bassi was also replaced by Damandeeep Singh Uppal, a close confidant of PPCC president Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Considered an Amarinder loyalist, Bassi was once claimant of a Congress ticket from Amritsar seat, from where Navjot Singh Sidhu contested. Amarinder Singh had appointed Bassi as Improvement Trust chairman.
Bassi however expressed no resentment after his removal: “I am thankful to the party for giving me an opportunity to serve the people. I also have no issues with Navjot Sidhu. I will work for the party.”