Punjab News

Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa, 6 Congress MLAs in Delhi, showdown likely

Chandigarh, August 12

The Punjab Congress is heading for yet another showdown between the camps of Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and PCC president Navjot Singh Sidhu, as minister Sukhjinder Randhawa and at least six MLAs left for Delhi on Thursday to meet top party leaders.

Days after the Chief Minister met party president Sonia Gandhi and pointed out that Sidhu’s public criticism of the government was not in good taste, leaders in the Sidhu’s camp are trying to meet party leader Rahul Gandhi, Rajya Sabha MP Ambika Soni and Punjab affairs in charge Harish Rawat.

They reportedly want to impress upon the party leadership to consolidate the PCC chief’s position vis-a-vis the Chief Minister in the run up to the Assembly elections.

Sources privy to the developments said there had been a general discussion among leaders in the Sidhu’s camp to gather wider consensus among party MLAs so that they could prevail upon the party high command to seek replacement of the Chief Minister. But it depends upon the line of action the party’s top leadership adopts in the coming days. “It is yet to be seen whether Sidhu prevails or the Chief Minister calls the last shots in the game of one-upmanship in the power play,” said a senior party leader.

In the backdrop of the disquiet in the state party unit, the Chief Minister has called a crucial Cabinet meeting on August 16 — a day after unfurling the National Flag at Amritsar. “Any Cabinet rejig, including the change of Speaker ahead of the monsoon session in the first week of September, would happen after Rawat visits Chandigarh and holds parleys with the Chief Minister and the PCC chief. Congress president Sonia Gandhi has asked Capt Amarinder and Sidhu to work in tandem and not at cross-purposes,” said the leader.

 

The PCC’s appointment of the two critics of the CM, former DGP Mohammed Mustafa and political analyst Malwinder Singh Mali — as advisers is also being seen as a message to the CM’s camp. Though the former DGP has declined the offer stating that he was not made for the political role, party leaders said his political ambitions to contest in the 2022 Assembly elections was clearly visible. The CM’s annoyance with Mustafa and his wife Razia Sultana for siding with Sidhu is visible.