Punjab Assembly bypolls: Cabinet ministers, Congress MLAs to oversee party campaign

The cabinet ministers would personally oversee Congress partys campaign during the bypoll to four assembly seats in Punjab, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said here on Tuesday. By-elections to Phagwara, Jalalabad, Dakha and Mukerian assembly seats would be held on October 21. Singh met party candidates here and asked them to aggressively counter the Akali and AAP mispropaganda while taking effective measures to project positive policies and programmes of his government, according to a statement. Three to four cabinet ministers will be personally overseeing the party campaign in each of the four constituencies, the chief minister said in a statement issued here. Each minister will be supported by 16-18 MLAs and around two dozen senior officer-bearers of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) working day and night to leverage advantage the party already has in the state, according to the statement. The chief minister will himself accompany the Dakha and Jalalabad candidates for filing of their nominations on September 30, it said. Senior All India Congress Committee (AICC) leader and partys Punjab in charge Asha Kumari would be accompanying the other two candidates on Phagwara and Mukerian seats on the same day, a party spokesperson said. The chief minister expressed the confidence that all the four candidates would sweep the bypolls for the Congress, which had maintained its stranglehold in the state even during the recent Lok Sabha elections in defiance of the national trend, the statement said. During the meeting with the party candidates, Singh asked them not to be defensive in their campaign strategy, pointing out that the Congress government in the state had done more for the people in just two and a half years than the previous SAD-BJP government had done in 10, it added. The Congress has chosen former state youth party chief Raminder Awla to contest from Jalalabad, the constituency earlier represented by SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal. Balwinder Singh Dhaliwal will contest from Phagwara-SC seat, Indu Bala has been fielded from Mukerian and Sandeep Singh Sandhu from Dakha assembly constituency.