Amarinder to lead Cong's Punjab Assembly battle: Rawat as fresh trouble brews
A fresh round of turmoil has engulfed the ruling Punjab Congress days after a major controversy erupted over certain comments made by two advisors of the state party unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
A number of legislators have reportedly come to Delhi to meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi, while a few cabinet ministers have left for Dehradun to speak to the party’s Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat to speak about their issues against the chief minister.
Rawat said the party had an idea that certain issues may come up following the organisational changes brought about in the state unit, even as he assured the next Assembly election in the state would be led by chief minister Amarinder Singh.
"This thing happens in the party. When we brought in changes in the Pradesh Congress Committee, we had an idea about possible issues that may turn up. We will find a solution. Everyone trusts Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi. But we will look into why suddenly a large number of MLAs are disappointed. We will try to resolve the issues," he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
This came a day after the MLAs and ministers raised a banner of revolt against the chief minister, as they held a meeting in Chandigarh and sought a replacement of the former, saying they had “lost faith in him” over the issue of unfulfilled promises.
Meanwhile, Punjab Congress general secretary Pargat Singh said there was resentment in MLAs against the chief minister over non-settlement of issues.
"Due to the non-settlement of issues, there is resentment in MLAs. I suggest the Congress high command under the supervision of the AICC observer, the chief minister should call a meeting of all MLAs and decide after discussing with them," he said.
When asked about meeting the party high command in Delhi, the Congress MLA said, "Definitely, some people have gone to Delhi and I will also go there. There is no problem with it. We should not divert the issues. Captain Amarinder Singh is our chief minister and we do not disagree with it but work has to be done."
The four ministers, known detractor of the CM, who met Rawat in Delhi are Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Charanjit Singh Channi.
The fresh developments came amid severe criticism from several corners, including the Congress, about two advisers of Sidhu for making controversial remarks on sensitive issues like Kashmir and Pakistan.
The chief minister had also recently raised his concerns in front of the Congress interim president about the statements made by Sidhu after his appointment as the party’s state unit chief.
Sidhu was appointed as president of the party's Punjab unit last month ahead of Assembly elections due next year. His appointment came after months of infighting in the state unit as the former cricketer had openly rebelled against Amarinder Singh's government over several issues.
Only recently, it had seemed the tension had eased following the formation of a 10-member “strategic policy group” for better coordination between the party and the state government, but there seems to be no end to the internal rivalry in the state unit with less than a year left the next Assembly election.