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Capt’s Majha brigade did it 

Chandigarh, May 31

The Shahkot byelection’s outcome has not only silenced the growing critics of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh within the party, but has also re-established him as the undisputed leader of the state Congress.The result is largely a victory of the Majha brigade, comprising Cabinet ministers Tript Rajinder Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Sukhjinder Randhawa and Gurpreet Kangar, who had campaigned aggressively for the byelection.Though Hardev Singh Laddi is a confidant of former minister Rana Gurjit Singh, the Chief Minister preferred to throw his weight behind the Majha brigade, which had been adjusted in the recent Cabinet expansion.After the recent expansion, dissident MLAs’ protest had been a cause for concern for the party leadership as some of them had gone to the extent of lodging complaint with party president Rahul Gandhi.Sources close to the top leadership revealed the party was on the backfoot after former SHO of the Mehatpur police station Parminder Bajwa booked Laddi in a sand mining case and with the SAD targeting Capt Amarinder for camping in Manali when the Beas river pollution case came to light. A roadshow by the Chief Minister made up for the initially sluggish campaign.The Chief Minister said, “The party now has a two-thirds majority in the Vidhan Sabha.” He hailed the Congress’s victory as “vindication” of the government’s people-centric policies, a rejection of the “negative” politics of SAD and “decimation” of AAP.With two-thirds majority in the House, the government could bring in any legislation it wanted in the interest of the people of Punjab, without the fear of a negative Opposition obstructing its passage, said Capt Amarinder.Victory apart, political analyst point out that it was the transfer of vote share from SAD and AAP that contributed to the win.The SAD’s continuing string of defeats in Punjab showed they had completely “lost favour” with the people, who were not willing to forget or forgive them for the “miseries and harassment” they were subjected during the 10-year “misrule” of the SAD-BJP combine, the CM said.

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