Punjab Congress Tussle: 10 MPs Issue Statement in Support of Amarinder Singh
Ten Congress MLAs from Punjab have written to the party asking it "not to let down" captain Amarinder Singh.
In what may spell fresh trouble for the Congress' Punjab unit, a group of 10 party MLAs have written to the Lutyens high command, urging the Grand Old Party "not to let down CM Captain Amarinder Singh, due to whose unrelenting efforts the party stands well entrenched in Punjab," reported news agency ANI.
The statement by seven Congress legislators and three AAP MLAs who recently switched over to the party noted that Navjot Singh Sidhu was a celebrity and an asset to the party, but added that condemning and criticising the party and government in public has only created a “rift among the cadres and weakened it", reported PTI.
The joint statement was issued by Congress leader Sukhpal Singh Khaira.
The statement said that the MPs hoped the party high command would take note of their suggestions and would keep in mind the status, contribution and background of Amarinder Singh.
Sidhu on Saturday reportedly met 50 party MLAs in Delhi and is expected to meet more in the coming days. On Sunday, he met more party workers in Khanna, Ludhiana.
Meanwhile, Punjab Congress President Sunil Jakhar said an urgent meeting of all party MLAs and district heads will be held in Chandigarh on Monday.
"In the meet, a resolution will be passed and sent to party chief that whatever decision she takes regarding Punjab will be respected by all," Jakhar told news agency ANI.
Meeting of Punjab Congress MPs
The letter from the 10 MLAs came amid reports of a meeting among Punjab Congress MPs that was held on Sunday, purportedly to block the elevation of the disgruntled cricketer-turned-politician Sidhu as the state party president, reported NDTV.
According to the report, during the meeting organised by Chief Minister Singh's wife, lawmakers were supposed to press the leadership to not promote Sidhu.
"We have invited all (Congress) MPs from Punjab for a meeting to devise a strategy on farmers' issue and to discuss some important issues related to the (Punjab) Congress," Pratap Singh Bajwa had said, ahead of the meeting, reported ANI.
However, post the meeting, Congress MP Jasbir Gill said that there was no talk of Sidhu in the meeting. "We discussed how the farmers' issue could be raised in Parliament. We also talked about high inflation and Punjab's (share of) taxes that are not released by the Centre," Gill told ANI.
Congress leader Manish Tewari said that the meeting saw detailed discussions on the ongoing farmers' protest as well as the allocation of vaccines in Punjab.
"We'll be presenting 'Kaam Roko Prastav' (stop-work proposal) in the House. We have also discussed the strategy for the upcoming parliament sessions keeping Punjab issues in mind," he added, according to ANI.
What Happened Before?
Earlier, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said that "any decision taken by Congress President Sonia Gandhi will be acceptable to all", indicating that he is okay with the elevation of Navjyot Singh Sidhu to the post.
However, the 79-year-old veteran politician has placed certain caveats to this appointment, reported NDTV.
The development came 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.
What Were the Caveats?
Reports suggest that Rawat met Singh to inform him of the high command's decision of appointing Sidhu as president.
The latter is said to have expressed his unhappiness on how the high command handled the appointment of the PCC president. He said that premature announcements were made and stories were “leaked", reported The Indian Express.
Singh reportedly told Rawat said that he should be involved by the party leadership while taking important decisions and that Sidhu's appointment should complement his efforts in helping the party come back to power in the next year's elections, reported NDTV.
He also demanded that he be given a free hand in reshuffling his cabinet and appointing working presidents under Sidhu, said the report.
Both NDTV and The Indian Express reported that Singh, when asked by Rawat to publicly meet Sidhu, said that he will not do so until the probable president apologises publicly for his tweets.
Earlier in May, Sidhu had issued multiple tweets attacking the Chief Minister.
(With inputs from ANI, PTI, NDTV and The Indian Express.)
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