Cong’s Punjab face-saver: Sidhu to stay as PCC chief

Cong’s Punjab face-saver: Sidhu to stay as PCC chief
Cong’s Punjab face-saver: Sidhu to stay as PCC chief

Navjot Singh Sidhu will continue as the Punjab Congress chief and a coordination panel is likely to be set up, which is expected to be consulted before any major decisions by the Punjab government in future, party sources said on Thursday.

IMAGE: Navjot Singh Sidhu with Rahul Gandhi and Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi, in Chandigarh, September 20,2021. Photograph: ANI Photo

The decision was reached after an over two-hour meeting at the Punjab Congress Bhavan between chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Sidhu, who had resigned from the  post of the state party chief on Tuesday.

The panel may comprise the CM, Navjot Singh Sidhu and a representative of the AICC, the sources said.

The All-India Congress Committee (AICC) is expected to make an announcement in this regard, the sources said.

However, it is still unclear how differences over the appointment of the DGP and the AG will be dealt with.

Miffed Sidhu on Wednesday had raised a question over the appointments of the DGP, state’s advocate general and “tainted” leaders.

Besides Channi and Sidhu, the meeting was attended by senior Congress leader and central observer Harish Chaudhary, minister Pargat Singh and Punjab Congress working president Kuljit Nagra, the sources said.

Minister Raj Kumar Verka, MLAs Inderbir Singh Bolaria, Avtar Singh Junior and PPCC working president Pawan Goel were in another room, they said.

There was no press briefing after the meeting between Sidhu and Channi.

Channi left the venue around 6 pm while Sidhu came out about half an hour later.

No party leader spoke to the media after the meeting concluded.

Earlier in the day, Sidhu reached Chandigarh from Patiala to meet Channi.

The meeting came a day after Channi reached out to him and offered to resolve issues through talks.

Just before his meeting with Channi, Sidhu attacked the state’s new DGP, alleging that he wrongly indicted two Sikh youths in a desecration case and gave a clean chit to the Badals.

The desecration of a religious text allegedly took place in Punjab’s Faridkot district in 2015, whose investigation was handed over by the then Parkash Singh Badal-led government to an SIT led by current DGP Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota.

Sahota was given the additional charge of the state’s DGP by the Charanjit Singh Channi-led government.

The development in the Punjab Congress comes on a day when former chief minister Amarinder Singh was in Delhi and said he will quit the Congress, which he asserted was going downhill with senior leaders being ignored.

But Amariner scotched speculation of his joining the BJP.

Former state party chief Sunil Jakhar also said there should be an end to attempts to undermine the authority of the Punjab chief minister time and again.

Jakhar said “aspersions” being cast on the selection of the state’s advocate general and state police head were actually “questioning the integrity of the CM”.

Jakhar was obliquely referring to Sidhu who had raised questions over the appointments of the director general of police and the state’s advocate general.

“Enough is enough. Put an end to attempts to undermine the authority of CM time and again. Aspersions being cast on the selection of AG & DGP is actually questioning the integrity/competence of CM and Home Minister to deliver results,” he said.

“It’s time to put the foot down and clear the air,” tweeted Jakhar who was the front runner for the post of the chief minister.

But the party later chose Charanjit Singh Channi.

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