File image of Sunil Jakhar (PTI photo)
The infighting in the Punjab Congress, it seems, refuses to end even Charanjit Singh Channi took oath as the new chief minister replacing Captain Amarinder Singh on September 20.
Hours before the oath-taking, Sunil Jakhar, former president of Punjab Congress who was considered one of the front-runners to replace Amarinder Singh called the “Elections to be fought under Sidhu” remark by party’s senior leader Harish Rawat “baffling.”
READ: Punjab Crisis | In the Singh-Sidhu battle, Congress is the real loser
“On the swearing-in day of Charanjit Singh Channi as chief minister, Rawat’s statement that “elections will be fought under Sidhu”, is baffling,” Jakhar said in a tweet. He was referring to the party’s state in charge in Punjab Harish Rawat’s statement to the media in which he said elections will, in the present circumstances, be fought under Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee’s chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
On the swearing-in day of Sh @Charnjit_channi as Chief Minister, Mr Rawats’s statement that “elections will be fought under Sidhu”, is baffling. It’s likely to undermine CM’s authority but also negate the very ‘raison d’être’ of his selection for this position.
— Sunil Jakhar (@sunilkjakhar) September 20, 2021
“It (party face for upcoming state polls) will be decided by Congress president, but given the circumstances, elections will be fought with CM’s cabinet under Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, whose chief is Navjot Singh Sidhu. He is very popular,” Rawat had said.
The comment didn’t go well with Jakhar who said it was “likely to undermine chief minister’s authority but also negates the very ‘raison d’être’ of his selection for this position.”
Also, read: Explained: Why Congress picked Charanjit Singh Channi to succeed Amarinder Singh as CM of poll-bound Punjab
The Bharatiya Janata Party also hit out at Rawat’s comment. “This is a huge insult to the entire Dalit community if Charanjit Singh Channi has been made the CM, only to hold the seat for Navjot Singh Sidhu, the chosen Gandhi family loyalist. This completely undermines the Dalit empowerment narrative being peddled by Congress. Shame,” tweeted BJP IT cell chief Amit Malviya.
This is a huge insult to the entire Dalit community if Charanjit Singh Channi has been made the CM, only to hold the seat for Navjot Singh Sidhu, the chosen Gandhi family loyalist.
This completely undermines the Dalit empowerment narrative being peddled by the Congress. Shame. https://t.co/8zkPmiq9cq
— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) September 20, 2021
Jakhar, who was in the reckoning for the chief minister’s post, was dropped because many leaders were against having a Hindu leader for the top post.
Jakhar had on September 18 praised Rahul Gandhi for the “bold leadership decision” to resolve the Punjab Congress imbroglio
Kudos to Sh @RahulGandhi for adopting Alexandrian solution to this punjabi version of Gordian knot. Surprisingly, this bold leadership decision to resolve Punjab Congress imbroglio has not only enthralled congress workers but has sent shudders down the spines of Akalis.
— Sunil Jakhar (@sunilkjakhar) September 18, 2021
The infighting in Punjab, which had been brewing over the past five months, took an explosive turn on September 17, when a legislature party meeting was called at a short notice, reportedly without consulting Amarinder Singh who later resigned in September. Singh had been asked to resign by the party leadership to resolve the unending crisis.Internet Explorer Channel Network