New Delhi: Amid ongoing political tussle among party leaders in Punjab, Congress has called a meeting of the legislative party at 5 pm on Saturday. According to sources, the Congress high command has asked Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to resign from the post.
Meanwhile, a meeting called by Amarinder Singh at 2 pm has been cancelled. He wanted to meet MLAs, who are in his support, to put pressure on party.
The All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in-charge of Punjab Congress Harish Rawat, said a meeting of the Congress legislative party (CLP) will be convened on Saturday at Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee office.
“Meeting (CLP meet) has been called. Things will be discussed in the meeting,” ANI quoted Punjab Congress general secretary Pargat Singh when asked about reports that Captain Amarinder Singh has been asked to step down as CM. The names of Ambika Soni, Sunil Jakhar and others have come up as probables for the CM post.
On the contrary, political analyst Hemant Atri observes, “What we are reading between the lines is that high command has asked him to step down. My take is somewhat different. It is otherwise. Captain has told the high command that if you go this way, I am not ready to take it anymore. The way Captain has been humiliated for last three months, is no way of handling a sitting chief minister.”
Announcing the CLP meet, Rawat had on Friday tweeted: “The AICC has received a representation from a large number of MLAs from the Congress party, requesting to immediately convene a meeting of the Congress Legislative Party of Punjab. Accordingly, a meeting of the CLP has been convened at 5:00 PM on 18th September at the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee office. AICC directs the PPCC to facilitate this meeting. All congress MLAs of Punjab are requested to kindly attend this meeting.”
PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu also took to Twitter on Friday night and said, “As per the AICC directive, Congress Legislative Party meeting has been convened at @INCPunjab PPCC Office, Chandigarh on 18 September 2021 (Saturday) 5 PM.”
Despite efforts from the AICC leadership to settle the instability within the party, the political impasse continues in Punjab.
While the Congress denies reports of MLAs asking party’s interim chief Sonia Gandhi to resolve the issue, news agency ANI quoted a senior leader from the state unit of the party saying that around 40 MLAs wrote a letter to Gandhi to reconsider the leadership of state Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and requested for a CLP meeting to discuss the matter.
After Navjot Singh Sidhu was appointed as the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief, a Cabinet reshuffle was scheduled. However, the reshuffling seems to have erupted the infighting in the state.
A delegation of MLAs and Ministers who are supposed to be from Navjot Singh Sidhu camp met Harish Rawat in Dehradun two weeks ago and asked to intervene in the matter. As a result, the party is not able to give a green signal to Cabinet reshuffle.
Now a large section of party MLAs is on the side of Sidhu while party MPs from Punjab, Ministers and several other MLAs are in support of Captain Amarinder Singh.
Today’s legislative party meeting will be a show of strength for both sides.
Meanwhile, in the Cabinet rejig, which is very likely, few state ministers, who are on the verge of losing the membership to the Cabinet, are fearing the chance to not get party’s ticket this time, said a senior party leader.
However, it is enticing to wait for further developments in the politics of the Punjab Congress.
(With ANI inputs)