Sidhu part of three-member panel formed to end Punjab deadlock
The Congress party has decided to set up a three-member panel to resolve the deadlock over key government appointments and new Cabinet Ministers in poll-bound Punjab. The committee comprises Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Congress' Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Rawat, and the party's state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, whose resignation letter triggered a fresh crisis this week.
The formation of the panel was discussed during a two-hour-long meeting between Channi, Sidhu, and Congress leader Harish Chaudhary at the Punjab Bhawan in Chandigarh last evening. Sources told News18 that party leadership has decided to involve Sidhu in the process of finding a replacement for Advocate-General APS Deol, whose recent appointment by the Channi government was seen as controversial.
Further, the Punjab government will send a panel to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for the appointment of a new Director General of Police (DGP). CM Channi-led government had given additional charge of DGP to Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota, but Sidhu had opposed that decision. The Punjab Congress chief had instead recommended the appointment of Siddharth Chattopadhyaya, reports say.
The Congress has also decided that the said committee would meet at least once a week to discuss government decisions and appointments, sources told News18. However, there is no agreement yet on the replacement of Ministers whose appointment was seen as contentious. Sidhu had resigned as Punjab Congress chief on Tuesday but decided to stay on after most of his demands were accepted.
Sidhu's resignation this week came as a surprise as he had earlier set the stage for an unceremonious exit of party stalwart Captain Amarinder Singh as Punjab CM. He, however, defended his decision, saying he was fighting for issues. It also reignited the Congress party's long-standing internal dispute over its leadership. The drama in Punjab unfolds just months before the state goes to polls.