Congress clearly has the edge in Punjab, will win more than 8 seats: Partap Bajwa

AAP will lose Sangrur seat held by Bhagwant Mann before becoming CM


Interview/ Partap Bajwa, Congress leader

Congress veteran Partap Bajwa is confident that his party has the edge in the four-cornered contest in Punjab. “Our party will bring minimum support price if given a chance,” he said. Excerpts from an interview:

Q/ Which party will benefit most from the four-cornered contest?

A/ There was a recent survey in Punjab which had the Congress’s chances at 30 per cent, the Aam Aadmi Party’s at 27 per cent, the BJP’s at 18 per cent and the Shiromani Akali Dal’s at 16 per cent. The Congress clearly has the edge.

Q/ Are you trying to reap the benefit of farmers’ sentiment against the BJP?

A/ We don’t want to reap the benefit. We honestly stand with the farmers.

Q/ The Congress and the AAP are allies in Delhi and are fighting each other in Punjab.

A/ From the outset I have opposed any kind of tie-up with the AAP in Punjab. [I told] the central leadership: the AAP is in the government; we are the main opposition. If today we come together, the major beneficiary would be the AAP. They will take most of our cadres. Besides, they lack leaders. A lot of their candidates are former Congressmen.

Now I think the national leadership agrees that my stand saved the party in Punjab…. I feel the AAP is just an aberration. And Bhagwant Mann is a bad choice [as Punjab chief minister]. He is not in [AAP leader] Arvind Kejriwal’s control. When [Kejriwal] was imprisoned, Mann thought he would become the national convener, but Kejriwal’s wife came to the limelight. They (the AAP) also realise that they have made a bad choice in Mann.

Q/ There is talk that the Congress lacks star campaigners. Does it affect campaigning?

A/ Am I not a star campaigner? I am the senior-most politician in the state.

Q/ How many seats are you confident of winning? Mann is raising the 13-0 slogan.

A/ Mann will lose even Sangrur (the seat he had held before becoming CM). He lost Sangrur in the bypoll three months after winning the assembly elections.

Congress candidates are winning the polls hands down. We are anticipating more than eight seats.