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Capt meets Rahul; Sonia to take a call next week

punjab Updated: Oct 29, 2015 00:00 IST
Vishal Rambani
Vishal Rambani
Hindustan Times
Capt Amarinder Singh

Rahul has been holding parleys on the issue of a change in leadership in Punjab, where the stakes for the party are high as it wants to revive its fortunes in the 2017 assembly polls.(HT Photo)

Former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Wednesday met Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi for the second time in less than a week.

Rahul has been holding parleys on the issue of a change in leadership in Punjab, where the stakes for the party are high as it wants to revive its fortunes in the 2017 assembly polls.

Amarinder will soon meet party president Sonia Gandhi, who in consultation with Rahul, will take the final call.

The formal announcement of a change of guard is likely to take place in the next few days as the party high command wants to set up a coordination committee comprising senior leaders besides announcing the state party chief, sources said.

The party think tank is weighing different options as Amarinder has demanded a free hand to take on the Akalis. A section of leaders, though, is against giving a free hand to Amarinder, sources said, which has delayed the decision.

Amarinder detractors have asked the high command to have different combinations for a power-sharing formula in the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee as they fear that giving absolute power to Amarinder would create problems for senior state leaders. On the other hand, the Amarinder camp wants that a free hand be given to the Amritsar MP so that the Congress could win in Punjab.

Talking to the media after meeting Rahul, an upbeat Amarinder said the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal was in disarray in the state, while Aam Aadmi Party had lost stream, and the Congress would form the next government in the state.

He said they had discussed Punjab politics, agrarian crisis, scope of AAP in Punjab and other issues. “No organisational matter was discussed as we concentrated on issues that the party has to focus on in Punjab,” Amarinder said.

When asked about the changes and his opposition to state party chief Partap Singh Bajwa, Amarinder said, “The Congress president and vice-president will take a final call on the leadership issue in the coming days. And let me tell you there are no differences in the state Congress. The Congress will be united in contesting the assembly polls and will win them.”

He said, “I have been in the Congress for long and there is always some amount of dissent. It was there even when I was the state president. The Congress is a big party and can easily adjust Bajwa at another position.”

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