Amid speculation and row over appointment of the next Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief, the crisis in Punjab Congress showed no signs of ending. Speculations are looming over the appointment of Navjot Singh Sidhu as the PPCC president. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has written to Sonia Gandhi expressing his strong reservations over any such move. However, Mr. Singh has also said that “any decision taken by Congress President Sonia Gandhi will be acceptable to all.”
This comes after senior Congress leader Harish Rawat met Singh, amid reports that Navjot Singh Sidhu is likely to be appointed as the Punjab Congress chief, replacing Sunil Jakhar. Sources told ANI that the Punjab Congress crisis is likely to be ‘resolved soon’ and that four working presidents will be appointed along with Sidhu.
Sidhu met Gandhi in the morning in Delhi after which sources in the party indicated that his elevation as Punjab Congress chief could be announced later in the day. But there was no announcement. Sidhu also met Jakhar at his residence in Panchkula. While Sidhu did not speak to the media, Rawat told reporters he has submitted report to the Congress president and the final decision will be taken by her. To questions on whether the party leadership has decided to appoint Sidhu as the PPCC chief, he said: “Who told you… I will let you know once a decision is taken.”
Sources close to the Punjab Chief Minister, meanwhile, said he has written to Gandhi conveying his strong opposition on Friday, 16 July. Sources said Amarinder, in his letter, has said that the elevation of Sidhu will upset senior members of the party in the state. He expressed his fear of split in the party if the party goes ahead and names Sidhu as the PPCC chief. Also, he said that Sidhu’s elevation will upset the Hindu community.
The tussle comes ahead of the Assembly elections in the state, scheduled for early next year, and may hurt the party. The feud between Mr Singh and Mr Sidhu has been on since the 2017 state elections. Mr Sidhu, who joined the party after a stint in the BJP, hoped to be made Deputy Chief Minister. But the move was reportedly scuttled by Mr Singh.