‘Ek thi Cong’ is world’s shortest story, says Bhagwant Mann


PTI, Jan 2, 2024, 8:34 AM IST

Chandigarh: In a swipe at the Congress, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann on Monday suggested that the opposition party has been relegated to history in the state and in Delhi.

“In Punjab and Delhi, mothers can tell the world’s shortest story to their children – Ek Thi Cong (there was once a Congress),” he quipped at a press conference here when asked about the reported reluctance of state Congress leaders to having an alliance with Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

Earlier, when asked about the issue of seat adjustment among I.N.D.I.A bloc partners, Mann said these matters would be discussed in the alliance meeting and added, “Only after things are finalised we will be able to tell”.

“We are fighting for the country. If the Constitution is saved, then everything else will remain,” he said.

Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, which is in power in Delhi and Punjab, and the Congress are among the 28 constituents of the INDIA bloc formed to take on the BJP in the upcoming general elections.

When Mann was asked about Congress leaders reportedly telling their party high command that the party would be wiped out in polls if it allied with AAP, the chief minister took a swipe at the opposition party saying, “Te hun ki hoya hai unada (Is their state of affairs any different now)”.

He ended his press conference with his “shortest story” jibe at the Congress.

Notably, many Punjab Congress leaders including Partap Singh Bajwa had earlier said the sentiments of party cadre in the state are against any alliance with the ruling AAP for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

Meanwhile, notwithstanding the Defence Ministry’s statement on Sunday over the tableau matter, Mann again trained his guns at the Centre over the “non-inclusion” of the state’s float in the Republic Day parade.

He also categorically stated that Punjab would not showcase its tableau in Bharat Parv at the Red Fort.

“Why will we send our tableau to the rejected category… We can take out all the three tableaux in Delhi that we had given for shortlisting purposes for the Republic Day parade. Why only the Red Fort…,” he said.

“How did they imagine a Republic Day without the tableau of Punjab? What are the criteria for the selection of tableaus? They are saying our tableau was considered in the first three rounds. Is this some kind of tournament?

“Who are these people sitting there who reject these tableaus and Punjab’s culture? We know how to respect our freedom fighters, we don’t need any NoC from BJP,” he said.

The Centre had on Sunday rejected as “baseless” Mann’s criticism of the BJP-led government for not including the state’s tableau in the Republic Day parade 2024 and his allegations of discrimination.

The Ministry of Defence had issued a statement saying tableaux proposals from States and Union territories and central ministries or departments are evaluated by an “expert committee” comprising eminent persons in the fields of art, culture, painting, sculpture, music, architecture and choreography among others.

“The tableau proposal of Punjab was considered in the first three rounds of meeting of the Expert Committee. After the third round of meetings, the tableau of Punjab could not be taken forward by the Expert Committee for further consideration for not aligning to the broader themes of this year’s tableau,” it had said.

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