After Amarinder Singh, these Congress leaders are in race to become Punjab CM
After Amarinder Singh resigned as the Punjab chief minister, the Congress central leadership is likely to name the new leader in a legislature party meeting on Sunday, with under five months to go for the state elections. Punjab Congress legislators have authorised party president Sonia Gandhi to pick a new legislature party leader who will succeed Amarinder Singh as the chief minister of the state. Amarinder Singh resigned as Punjab chief minister, saying he felt "humiliated" at the way the party handled the infighting in the Congress state unit.
The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting in Chandigarh has been called at 11am on Sunday. A resolution requesting Sonia Gandhi to pick the next Punjab chief minister was passed unanimously in a meeting of the CLP on Saturday.
Apart from Sidhu, former Punjab Congress unit chiefs Sunil Jakhar and Pratap Bajwa are said to be the frontrunners for the top job in the state, which is scheduled to hold the assembly elections early next year. State ministers Sukhjinder Randhawa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa are also said to be the contenders for the chief minister’s post. Names of senior party leaders Ambika Soni, Brahm Mohindra, Vijay Inder Singla, Punjab Congress working president Kuljit Singh Nagra and MP Partap Singh Bajwa are also doing the rounds.
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Amarinder Singh, who led the Congress back to power in Punjab with an overwhelming majority in the last assembly polls in 2017, said after resigning “let them make anyone (next CM) whom they trust”. However, he added that he won’t accept newly appointed party chief Navjot Singh Sidhu as the next CM or the party’s face in the coming Punjab assembly polls. After resigning Singh targeted Navjot Singh Sidhu, calling him a “total disaster”.
Senior Congress leader Ajay Maken, who is one of the two central observers deputed by the party, told reporters that a resolution praising and thanking the contribution of Amarinder Singh towards Punjab and the Congress was also unanimously passed at the CLP meeting. “We also expect that the party will continue to get guidance from Amarinder Singh,” he further said.
Maken said the second resolution, moved by Brahm Mohindra and seconded by MLAs Raj Kumar Verka, Sangat Singh Gilzian and Amrik Singh Dhillon, in which the Congress president was authorised to pick the Congress legislature party leader was also passed unanimously. “Whosoever she picks will be unanimously accepted by everybody,” Maken said.
Congress general secretary and Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Rawat said outgoing CLP leader Amarinder Singh led with great capability and ran a very good government. Singh confronted the challenges in Punjab and also found their solutions, Rawat said.