Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said a decision on any electoral alliance in Punjab for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections would be taken by the Congress high command at the appropriate time.He was replying to a media query about the possibility of a poll alliance on the lines of the one forged by Samajwadi Party with Bahujan Samaj Party and Congress in Uttar Pradesh.Talking to journalists on the sidelines of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation convention in Patiala, Capt. Amarinder Singh said any decision in this regard would be taken by the party’s central leadership.In response to another question, he hinted at a new Sports Minister being appointed in the State’s Cabinet expansion, which is expected to take place soon. “The new Sports Policy would be finalised thereafter,” he said.On the issue of alleged illegal mining in Patiala, he promised a thorough probe and action. “I won’t allow illegal mining to continue,” he said, pointing out that he had already issued stringent directives to the police and the concerned administrative departments to crack down against such activities taking place in any part of the State.On the report submitted by the Special Task Force (STF) in the drugs case, Capt. Singh said the matter was sub judice and he could, therefore, not comment on the same.
The Congress Working Committee (CWC) is set to meet on February 26 in Ahmedabad and possible alliances across the States will be top on the agenda for the meeting. The meeting comes less than 100 days before the general elections, where the Congress is fighting an all-out battle. The Congress is working towards an alliance in Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Jharkhand. “It is easier to declare alliances in Delhi and difficult to work it out at the ground level. For example, in West Bengal Raiganj is CPI (M) leader Mohd. Salim’s constituency and he will be contesting from there. It is also the constituency of our prime candidate Deepa Das Munshi,” a senior party leader said. The alliance with Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and other parties in Maharashtra has been almost sealed barring a few details that need to be ironed out. The Congress president Rahul Gandhi had a meeting with NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday once again to clear the issues. In Bihar, where Congress is part of the ‘Mahagatbandhan’, the six constituents – RJD, Sharad Yadav’s Jan Loktantrik Party, Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s Hindustan Awam Party and the Left parties have not been able to reach an amicable seat arrangement. The Congress has been demanding that they should have equal share of seats with the RJD. The RJD however have overtly and covertly sending out messages that the Congress should be generous towards its regional parties. It will be the first CWC meeting after Priyanka Gandhi was formally inducted in the Congress’s highest decision-making body after she was appointed general secretary in-charge of Eastern Uttar Pradesh.According to sources, Gujarat has been chosen as the venue for the meeting to kickstart Congress’s campaign for Lok Sabha polls. This will be the second meeting of the CWC outside New Delhi. The last meeting was in Wardha, Maharashtra, at Sevagram Ashram to mark the 150 birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.