Punjab CM Amarinder Singh writes to Sonia Gandhi, expresses apprehension on Navjot Singh Sidhu's possible elevation as state party chief
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh writes to Sonia Gandhi, expresses apprehension on Navjot Singh Sidhu's possible elevation as state party chief

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday wrote a letter to Congress Interim President Sonia Gandhi and expressed his apprehension on Navjot Singh Sidhu's possible elevation as state party chief, reported news agency ANI.

Reportedly, the Congress party has devised a formula to end the infighting in its Punjab unit. As per the formula, Navjot Singh Sidhu is likely to be appointed as the Punjab Congress chief along with two other working presidents.

The Congress is mulling an idea of appointing a Dalit and a Hindu as working presidents. The names of Raj Kumar Verka and Santokh Chaudhary are being considered for working president as both are Dalits and can counter the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) alliance impact, reported news agency IANS. While another from Hindu community is to balance the equation and Vijay Inder Singla could be appointed as another working president, the report added.

Sources told IANS that the formula has been devised after the meeting with Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and poll strategist Prashant Kishor.

Meanwhile, AICC General Secretary Harish Rawat on Friday reiterated that Amarinder Singh will remain the chief ministerial face of the party for the upcoming Assembly elections since his governance has earned praise from people of the state and also because "Punjabis don't want to experiment with their political leadership." Talking to ANI the Congress leader in-charge of Punjab claimed that people in the state have found that whenever they sided with the Akalis, it resulted in "disorder" for them.

"The sense of security that people of Punjab demand has been given only by the Congress party. People praise Captain Amarinder Singh for peace in the state and they don't want to experiment. Whenever they sided with Akalis, disorder ensued," Rawat said.

Talking about the mediation efforts by Congress to resolve infighting in its Punjab unit, Rawat said, "I have submitted my note. I believe the Congress president will take her time and come to a decision soon."

On being asked if Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh was unhappy with some decisions recommended by him, Rawar said, "If there is any communication gap, I am here to take care of it."

Earlier today, Rawat met Sonia Gandhi and submitted his report regarding proposed changes in Punjab Congress. Party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu was also present during the meeting.

Meanwhile, Rawat is scheduled to visit Chandigarh tomorrow and meet Captain Amarinder Singh.

For the uninitiated, Sidhu has been at loggerheads with the chief minister, attacking him on several issues like the alleged delay in the completion of a probe into the 2015 desecration of Sikh texts and the subsequent police firing on protesters.

This comes at a time when the party unit is gearing up for the Assembly elections, which are scheduled to take place next year. Besides, Punjab is crucial for Congress as it is one of the few states where the party is in power and the outcome will have an impact on the party's prospects outside the state as well.

(With input from agencies)

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