Expressing concerns over another round of crisis in the Punjab unit of the Congress, Anandpur Sahib MP Manish Tewari said that he is ‘extremely distressed’ after Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation as party’s state unit chief and claimed that the only people who are happy with what is going on in the border state is the ‘deep state of Pakistan.’
IMAGE: Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi with former Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu and deputy CM Sukhjinder S Randhawa in Chandigarh airport en route to Delhi, September 21, 2021. Photograph: ANI Photo
Tewari pointed out that a safe pair of hands is required to keep the ship on an even keel in the state when it is going through intense social upheaval because of angst in people against farm laws.
“As a Punjab MP, I am extremely distressed about happenings in Punjab. Peace in Punjab was extremely hard-won. 25,000 people, bulk of them Congressmen, sacrificed themselves to bring peace back to Punjab after fighting extremism and terrorism between 1980 and 1995,” Tewari told ANI.
Referring to the ongoing agitation by the farmers against the Centre’s three farm laws, Tewari said that Punjab is a border state which is going through intense social upheaval primarily because of angst in people against farm laws and shenanigans playing themselves out in public space can have serious implications on the stability of the state.
“I have just returned from a regional security conference and I can tell you that the only people who are very happy with what is going on in Punjab is the deep state of Pakistan. They feel that they will get an opportunity to fish in troubled waters. There is a higher ideal than power than ministers holding organisational positions. That higher ideal is ensuring peace, tranquillity and stability of a border state like Punjab. But what has been playing itself out is extremely unfortunate,” the Congress leader said.
When asked about Captain Amarinder Singh, Tewari called him an extremely tall leader who was also a close friend of his late father.
“Captain Amarinder Singh is an extremely tall leader, he was a close friend of my late father. We’ve known each other over the decades, therefore, under those circumstances, I think Captain Amarinder Singh is in the best position to articulate for himself,” he remarked.
“Whatever Captain Singh had predicted is coming true. The concern of a large number of us who see things beyond the cut and thrust of partisan politics is implications that this will have on larger stability of Punjab, given the social turmoil because of farmers’ agitation,” he pointed out.
Tewari further said that at this point in time, the border state requires a safe pair of hands that could keep the ship on an even keel.
“Unfortunately, people who were charged with the remit of looking at the state did not have a clue about the big picture,” he added.
Navjot Singh Sidhu tendered his resignation as the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee to the party’s interim chief Sonia Gandhi on Tuesday.
Sidhu was appointed as the president of the PPCC on July 23 following months of turmoil in the state Congress unit.
Sidhu’s resignation as state party chief has intensified the crisis in the Punjab Congress and triggered discussions and deliberations in the party. A minister and three Congress leaders, considered close to him, stepped down from their posts.
This comes as a big blow to the Congress high command that was hoping to resolve the turmoil in the Congress unit of Punjab ahead of the assembly elections early next year.
After the tussle in the Punjab Congress between Sidhu and Amarinder Singh escalated in August, the party had appointed Sidhu as the state Congress chief apparently against the wishes of the chief minister.