NEW DELHI: As former Punjab Chief Minister and estranged Congress leader, Captain Amarinder Singh, made a formal announcement to float a new party, the Congress was once again caught off guard. To fix the situation, the party is now looking at hiring the services of a media strategy firm, WarRoom Strategies, to redeem the image. WarRoom Strategies apparently handles the social media of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Shivraj Singh Chauhan as well.
According to well placed sources, it has been a while that the two sides have been discussing the handling of social media by the company. The Punjab government is said to have initiated the talks with the firm soon after Captain Amarinder Singh stepped down from the post of the Chief Minister.
In fact, the source claimed that the talks began after Navjot Singh Sidhu was appointed as the new chief of Punjab Congress in July this year. “Officially, however, the talks began only at the end of September, when the state government was facing a major political crisis, and Sidhu offered to step down from the post of the party chief,” the source said.
“A meeting between the two parties took place in Chandigarh around October 14. Sidhu and other senior functionaries of the government were also present in that meeting,” the source added.
Meanwhile, Tushar Panchal, CEO, WarRoom Strategies, has put forth his stance. “My team may have met them (Sidhu and Punjab government leaders), but it is all a regular stead where we connect with several political leaders. They (the Congress) have not approached me for any work. There has been no confirmation and no go ahead from the Punjab government yet,” he told The New Indian.
The Congress has been facing a difficult time in Punjab due to internal conflict. The party’s former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh announced his plans to launch his own party, called Punjab Vikas Congress, the papers for which have been submitted to the Election Commission.
In a series of tweets, Raveen Thukral, Captain Amarinder Singh’s media advisor on Tuesday said, “The battle for Punjab’s future is on. Will soon announce the launch of my own political party to serve the interests of Punjab & its people, including our farmers who’ve been fighting for their survival for over a year: Captain Amarinder Singh.”
“‘Hopeful of a seat arrangement with BJP in 2022 Punjab Assembly polls if farmers protest is resolved in farmers’ interest. Also looking at alliance with like-minded parties such as breakaway Akali groups, particularly Dhindsa & Brahmpura factions’: Captain Amarinder Singh,” Thukral said in another tweet.
The recent development has left several Congress leaders worried. A Punjab Congress leader in Chandigarh wishing not to be named said that Sidhu still has many allies in the BJP and he is trying to bring them over to Congress by making appointments for several posts in several districts.
The party leader said that if WarRoom Strategies takes over this account, it may actually leave the party more vulnerable during the elections, as the agency would have all access to party candidates and their strategy, as they are already working for the BJP in Madhya Pradesh.
At the same time, Captain Amarinder may also try to break the Congress by pulling his loyalists into his new party, he warned. The assembly elections in the state are scheduled for next year. The Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal, BJP and AAP all are in the fray.
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