Congress's Punjab unit has served show-caused notices on its two MLAs for leading a group of legislators and leaders and openly seeking the resignation of state unit chief Partap Singh Bajwa following the party's dismal performance in the Lok Sabha elections.
"We have issued show-cause notices to Guru Har Sahai MLA Rana Gurmeet Sodhi and Barnala MLA Kewal Dhillon," chairman of Punjab Congress's Disciplinary Action Committee Gopal Krishan Chatrath told reporters here today, adding that they had been given 10 days' time to respond. He said they had been issued notices for going to the media and demanding action against Bajwa, rather than raising the matter at a party forum.
As many as 24 Congress MLAs, besides other party leaders, had released a statement to the media, asking Bajwa to own up responsibility for the party's poll debacle in Punjab and resign. Chatrath said the two MLAs did not even visit their own Assembly segments during campaigning for the Lok Sabha polls leading to the party's poor performance in those seats, but "now they are demanding action against Bajwa", he said.
Guru Har Sahai Assembly segment comes under Firozpur Lok Sabha seat where Congress's Sunil Jakhar lost to the SAD candidate. In Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency, in which Barnala falls, Congress candidate Vijay Inder Singla came third. Asked about what action would be taken against the erring MLAs, Chatrath said action would depend on their reply. Chatrath said notices would also be issued to those who had signed the statement, seeking resignation of Bajwa.
"We have checked facts. Some people say they have not signed the statement. Leaders whose names appeared in it are being asked. The moment we come to know that a leader or an MLA has signed the statement, he will be served a notice. We belief that some leaders whose names appeared in the statement did not sign," he said. Asked whether the disciplinary committee would serve notice on former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh who too had reportedly sought Bajwa's resignation, Chatrath said he did not have any proof that any Congress candidate faced defeat because of Singh who himself defeated BJP stalwart Arun Jaitley from Amritsar.
"I do not have any proof that any Congress candidate lost due to him (Amarinder). I am taking action against those who are responsible for defeat of Congress candidates, but are now demanding action against Bajwa," Chatrath said. He added that he could not take action against Singh, who is a Congress Working Committee member, without permission of the Congress high command.
He said he was assessing and evaluating the performance of all Congress leaders in the elections. "We are evaluating and assessing the role of every body be it booth wise and constituency wise. How many votes we got, and who was responsible for defeat...," he said.
Asked about action against Congress leader Sukhwinder Singh Danny, he said Danny had been given another notice as his reply was found to be unsatisfactory. Notice was earlier served on Danny for not campaigning for Congress candidate from Faridkot Joginder Singh Pangrain.