Channi, Deputy CMs, Sidhu in Delhi to discuss Cabinet expansion
The newly-elected Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, his two deputies, and state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu took a chartered flight to Delhi on Tuesday to discuss the expansion of the new Cabinet with the party's central leadership, sources said. The team will meet All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary Harish Rawat, who is the Punjab affairs in-charge, in Delhi, they said.
In line of duty! tweeted Sidhu
Sidhu uploaded a photo on Twitter showing him with Channi and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, one of the two deputy chief ministers, beside a chartered plane. "In line of duty!!" he tweeted. Channi, Randhawa, and the other deputy chief minister, OP Soni, were sworn in on Monday, two days after Captain Amarinder Singh resigned as chief minister of the poll-bound state.
Here is what Sidhu tweeted
In line of duty !! pic.twitter.com/ljxxz5UeF9— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) September 21, 2021
Fresh faces likely to be inducted in Cabinet: Sources
After hectic consultations, the party had picked Channi as the leader of the Congress Legislature Party. Randhawa, a Jat Sikh, and Soni, a Hindu, were apparently chosen to balance the caste equations. Sources said the Cabinet is likely to see the induction of fresh faces after the Delhi meeting, where the probable candidates will be discussed.
Sidhu's loyalists might get inducted in new Cabinet
There are indications that those who rallied behind Sidhu in the power tussle with Captain Singh will find a place in the Cabinet. The names of Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, Madan Lal Jalalpur, Inderbir Singh Bolaria, Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Pargat Singh, who is currently the Punjab Congress general secretary, and Sangat Singh Gilzian, are doing the rounds.
Will Captain Singh's loyalists retain positions?
Meanwhile, there is speculation whether Captain Singh-loyalists -- like Gurmit Singh Sodhi, who was the sports minister, and Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, who held the ministry of social justice -- would retain their positions.
Rawat had hinted that Sidhu will lead assembly elections
Channi himself was part of the group of ministers who constantly targeted Singh, making it clear that they were part of the Sidhu camp. Meanwhile, shortly before the swearing of the three ministers on Monday, Rawat triggered a row by suggesting that the coming assembly elections will be fought under Sidhu's leadership.
Baffling remark: Jakhar on Rawat's statement
Congress leader Sunil Jakhar, who was at one stage also seen as the CM candidate, said the baffling remark would undermine the new CM's authority. In a damage-control exercise, the Congress then said both Channi and Sidhu will lead the fight in the next election.
Shiromani Akali Dal took a dig at Sidhu's tweet
Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal took a dig at Sidhu's tweet. It said, "After saying that they stand with the common man, INC leaders take private jets to travel just 250 kms from Chandigarh to Delhi. Are there no normal flights or cars that can be used? Or is this chest-thumping aimed at the propagation of Gandhi family's Delhi Darbar culture?"
Here is what SAD tweeted
After saying that they stand with the common man, INC leaders take private jets to travel just 250 KMs from Chandigarh to Delhi. Are there no normal flights or cars that can be used? Or is this chest thumping aimed at propagation of Gandhi family’s Delhi Darbar culture? https://t.co/tw8kglW5K1— Shiromani Akali Dal (@Akali_Dal_) September 21, 2021