Rawat also informed Singh that three to four working presidents of the chief minister’s choice would also be appointed along with Sidhu, sources said
The All India Congress Committee general secretary and Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat Saturday said that chief minister Amarinder Singh was informed about Navjot Singh Sidhu’s appointment as next head of party’s state unit, News18 reported. The Punjab chief minister has, in all likelihood, accepted the appointment.
According to sources, the official announcement of Sidhu’s appointment is expected to be made on Saturday through a press release.
“I have just returned to Delhi after meeting Amarinder Singh Ji. I am glad that a lot of the things that are being discussed have been proven pointless and Captain Sahib has reiterated his important statement, that any decision taken by the Congress president will be acceptable to all,” the AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab said.
मैं, @capt_amarinder जी से मिलकर अभी-अभी दिल्ली लौटा हूंँ। मुझे प्रसन्नता है कि बहुत सारी बातें जो बाहर चर्चा में हैं, वो बिल्कुल निर्मूल साबित हुई हैं और कैप्टन साहब ने फिर से अपने उस महत्वपूर्ण बयान को दोहराया है,
— Harish Rawat (@harishrawatcmuk) July 17, 2021
So is all well in Punjab Congress?
Not necessarily. And for few reasons.
The caste angle: Is Captain’s objection valid?
Although Congress leader Manish Tewari had clearly rebutted the idea, saying that religion and caste do not stand in way, but Congress’ actions in the state speak otherwise.
But earlier, it was Tewari only who had batted for a Hindu face for the PCC chief’s post while giving details of the composition of the state’s population. Sikhs, he said, constitute 57.75 per cent of the population, while Hindus and Dalits constitute 38.49 and 31.94 per cent respectively.
Congress leader and chairman of Punjab Large Industrial Development Board Pawan Dewan had also urged the party to have a representation of the Hindu community on key posts in the state unit.
“Punjab Congress president – Jat Sikh (if Sidhu is made state Congress chief). CM – Jat Sikh. Punjab Youth Congress President – Jat Sikh Campaign Committee Chairman- Jat Sikh, Hindu kaha hai (where is the representation of the Hindu community)?” he tweeted.
In the backdrop of simmering tensions in the Punjab Congress unit, Singh on Saturday stated that any decision taken by the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi will be “acceptable” to all.
Singh made the statement amid speculation over likely elevation of disgruntled former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu as the state Congress chief.
Rawat flew down to Chandigarh as tensions escalate in the Congress’ Punjab unit over differences between Singh and Sidhu.
.”Had a fruitful meeting with @harishrawatcmuk. Reiterated that any decision of @INCIndia Presìdent will be acceptable to all. Raised certain issues which he said he’ll take up with @INCIndia president”, @capt_amarinder pic.twitter.com/UGOrSbJbeR
— Raveen Thukral (@RT_MediaAdvPBCM) July 17, 2021
The Hindu also quoted a senior party leader as saying that it was a foregone conclusion that Sidhu would be the next president of Punjab Congress Committee.
“An official announcement is merely a formality now. Sidhu has been asked by the ‘high command’ to start working. Meeting party leaders to seek their support and cooperation is what Mr. Sidhu has started with,” he stated.
Sidhu had also posted a cryptic tweet dropping hints of his appointment even though no final word has come out officially yet.
Seeking guidance of Presidents of the illustrious Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee … Conversations with wise men, worth months of Education !! 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/Tq5uqkbp6m
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) July 17, 2021
Party sources said that this along with early celebrations by Sidhu’s supporters have irked Amarinder further.
Tensions had peaked Thursday over the rumoured changes with both Amarinder and Sidhu rounding up MLAs and ministers on their side, and holding separate meetings.
Sidhu has been critical of Amarinder after the Punjab and Haryana High Court in April quashed a probe into the 2015 Kotkapura firing case. Sidhu had questioned the alleged “deliberate delay” in ensuring justice and had accused Amarinder of evading responsibility in the 2015 sacrilege case.
With inputs from agencies
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