All is not well in Punjab Congress, says Harish Rawat
Congress' Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat on Thursday conceded that "all is not well" in the party's state unit, hinting at a brewing power tussle ahead of Assembly elections. Stating that he did not want to hide anything, Rawat said it will be resolved soon. Rawat's statements came after he met both Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in Chandigarh.
Rawat, who had been camping in Chandigarh, met with several Punjab unit leaders over the last three days. On Tuesday, Rawat met Sidhu, who had reportedly conveyed his "displeasure" on unfulfilled promises of the state government. A day later, Rawat met with CM Singh and apprised him about the "resentment" among the party's dissenting leaders. Rawat is to meet the party high command soon.
To both CM Singh and Sidhu, Rawat also gave a piece of advice. "If both don't work together, then one will face one of the biggest challenges of his life while the other still has a long future ahead."
Rawat—who has been trying to quell tensions between Sidhu and Singh—was also found to be "upset" after some dissenting ministers did not come to meet him. "Those angry ministers who did not come to meet me, I thank them," he lamented. Reportedly, Rawat wanted to hold a meeting with Sidhu and Singh together. But it was not successful as Sidhu left for Delhi.
Punjab Congress' Working President Kuljit Singh Nagra—who met Rawat on Thursday—said the Congress state in-charge met office bearers to review the functioning and asked them to strengthen the party ahead of the polls. "He met the Chief Minister to discuss the five-point agenda. State party chief Navjot Sidhu has assured that the party executive committee will be set up in the next 15-20 days."
Last week, Rawat had assured that the party will contest the 2022 Punjab Assembly elections under the leadership of CM Amarinder Singh. Rawat's announcement came shortly after four rebel Congress ministers met Rawat in Dehradun, seeking the ouster of Singh. Notably, the revolt by the ministers came a day after Sidhu faced flak for his advisor's controversial statements on Pakistan and Kashmir.
Despite Congress' efforts to find a truce, the power tussle between CM Singh and Sidhu has only intensified. Both Sidhu and Singh are trying to hold a grip over the party in the state with the Assembly elections around the corner. Earlier, Singh had opposed Sidhu's elevation to Punjab Congress chief for his vocal criticism against Singh's government over various issues.