Amarinder Singh on Friday upped the ante by writing a letter to Sonia Gandhi expressing apprehensions over the possible appointment of Sidhu as state party chief, news agency PTI reported quoting Congress sources.
The Punjab CM is learnt to have mentioned in the letter that there could be an adverse impact on the party’s prospects in the upcoming assembly polls by ignoring the old guard, the sources said.
Congress incharge Harsih Rawat had on Thursday floated a compromise formula which revolved around Sidhu being appointed as the state Congress president along with working presidents, while Amarinder Singh was to lead the party in elections early next year.
However, according to reports, Amarinder was unhappy over the proposal and had conveyed his objections to the party leadership.
That the truce formula was not working was evident on Friday, when Rawat reiterated that Amarinder will be party’s chief ministerial face, but remained silent on Sidhu’s elevation.
“The sense of security that people of Punjab demand has been given only by the Congress party. People praise Captain Amarinder Singh for peace in the state and they don’t want to experiment. Whenever they sided with Akalis, disorder ensued,” Rawat said.
When asked about the compromise formula and Sidhu’s reported elevation, Rawat said he had submitted his note to the Congress interim president and the ball was now in Sonia Gandhi’s court.
With hurdles to the truce formula, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul met Sidhu today in the national capital in the presence of Harish Rawat.
Asked about what transpired at the meeting, Rawat said, he cannot divulge details and whatever a state leader says to the Congress president is between them.
Sidhu, however, left Sonia Gandhi’s 10, Janpath residence without talking to the media.
Balancing social interest groups is the key: Manish Tewari
To make matters difficult for Sidhu, senior leader Manish Tewari suggested that the post of state Congress chief should go to a Hindu.
Tewari, who is an MP, in a tweet cited Punjab’s demography.
“Punjab is both progressive and secular … but balancing social interest groups is key. Equality is the foundation of social justice!” he said in the tweet and tagged the Congress and the party’s in-charge of Punjab affairs, Harish Rawat.
If the party chooses to appoint Sidhu as the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president then there will be two Jat Sikhs on key posts. Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh is also a Jat Sikh.
On Thursday night, both Amarinder Singh and Sidhu held parallel meetings in Chandigarh with their loyalists.
While the chief minister met some party MPs, MLAs and ministers, Sidhu is learnt to have met Punjab ministers Sukhjinder Randhawa and Tript Rajinder Bajwa, and some MLAs close to him at Randhawa’s residence.
While Amarinder is strongly opposed to Sidhu’s elevation, Sidhu is adamant not to settle for anything less.
It remains to be seen how and when the Congress leadership manages to find a solution to this crisis.
(With inputs from agencies)