Hints of Navjot Singh Sidhu as next PCC chief spark row | India News

Hints of Navjot Singh Sidhu as next PCC chief spark row | India News


NEW DELHI/CHANDIGARH: Amid continuing signals that Navjot Sidhu may be handed the charge of the Punjab Congress, an official suggestion to this effect on Thursday triggered a controversy, forcing a notional backpedalling by the party and laying bare the pressures and counter pressures at play.
AICC incharge of Punjab Harish Rawat was quoted in the media as saying that Sidhu could be made the party president and a peace formula to ensure that the cricketer-turned-politician and CM Amarinder Singh were on the same page had been worked out.
The remark turned up the political heat among Punjab leaders opposed to Sidhu who view him as a newcomer to the party. While some started contacting the Delhi leadership over what was coming, those close to the CM as well as the GenNext leaders antagonistic to Sidhu were agitated. A war of wits played out in public, with separate meetings of the CM with loyalists, while Sidhu called on dissident ministers in Amarinder’s cabinet.
Amid the heightened tension, Rawat, following a meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi in the evening, mildly retraced his steps. “I didn’t say that Sidhu was becoming president. I was asked if he was, and I had said that a decision was being taken around what you are saying,” he told reporters.
CM Singh has opposed Sidhu’s elevation as the party chief with dire warnings to the party brass of chaos, terming him as unpredictable and unreliable, it is learnt. Given the developments, there were rumours that CM Singh was resigning from his post, but his media adviser Raveen Thukral dismissed them as “humbug”.
As the party has been saying for a while that a decision was on the anvil, it is to be seen when a formal announcement is made and whether it is able to douse the raging fires in Punjab Congress. What has complicated the issue in recent days are tweets by Sidhu alluding to AAP, even if as part of social media warfare, with many viewing them as subtle warnings from Sidhu that he could bolt if his wishes were not fulfilled. Sidhu all along has been adamant about being made the state chief and has found a strong backer in AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.
Sources in the Congress management have, however, stated that any formula elevating Sidhu will have to have CM Singh on board. In view of Sidhu’s strong attacks on Singh, it is felt that a sort of reassurance to CM Singh about future leadership and respect at the hands of the maverick politician would be required to bring about a meeting of minds. Without this ground work, sources said that state government and party leadership in Punjab will work at cross purposes which will only hurt the Congress and demoralise the cadre in the run up to the polls. The duelling show of strength laid bare the faultlines in the state Congress.
Sidhu held a meeting of anti Amarinder ministers and MLAs at the residence of cabinet minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa. Those present included ministers Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Charanjit Singh Channi, and six MLAs. On the other hand, about two dozen Amarinder loyalists including ministers, MLAs and MPs reached the CM’s farmhouse at Siswan in Mohali to take stock.
As part of the revamp formula being worked out, Congress may appoint two or three working presidents belonging to Hindu communities for social balance, with Sidhu as party president.
At the same time, Amarinder could be named the chairman of the campaign committee and Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa is likely to head the manifesto panel of the party.





Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *