Chandigarh — Congress (I) has launched a massive pre-election mass contact program throughout Punjab. Conferences are being organized both in urban and rural areas. Top brass of the party are making frequent trips to Punjab. Singers and other items of entertainment are put into operation to attract the crowds. The purpose is to sense the mood of the people and to mobilize support for the party.

The gimmicks have not made any noticeable differences in the resentment that Sikh masses are nourishing against government actions. State Congress (I) leaders have

Been a major stumbling block in the way of a negotiated settlement with the Akalis. They did not relish any boost to the Akali image and consequently misinformed the center and sabotaged the talks. There is a growing realization of this negative role among the central leaders, and according to sources close to them, there is a feeling that normalcy in Punjab is imperative for the integration of the country. For this purpose the central leaders are not averse to some kind of loose Akali-Congress (1) combine in Punjab. This approach, they feel, might ensure lasting peace.

Article extracted from this publication >>  April 26, 1985