Amid infighting in the Punjab Congress, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh met senior party leaders from urban areas of the state at his residence in Chandigarh on Thursday.
After the meeting, Congress leader Gurjeet Singh Aujla said the party has begun preparations for the 2022 Assembly elections. "Captain sahib and Sidhu ji are our big leaders. Captain sahib is leading is us & is capable of it. Today's meeting was neither lunch diplomacy nor a show of strength, it was a meeting of CM with party leaders," he added.
The development comes a day after disgruntled Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu met with former party president Rahul Gandhi in the national capital. Before meeting the Wayanad MP, Sidhu met party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra at her residence.
Harish Rawat, Congress general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs, on Thursday said Sidhu's meeting with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi is a good sign. "This will help resolve the issue. I think there could be a resolution soon," he added.
For the uninitiated, Sidhu who had resigned from the Punjab Cabinet after he was divested of the local bodies portfolio in 2019, has been at loggerheads with Amarinder Singh. He has attacked him over the alleged delay in justice in the 2015 incidents of sacrilege and subsequent police firing. On the other hand, Singh had slammed Sidhu for continuously attacking him over the sacrilege issue and termed the former's outbursts as "total indiscipline".
While Sidhu met Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, the party's top leadership did not meet Punjab Chief Minister who was in Delhi recently for three days. A senior Congress leader, however, clarified that the Punjab Chief Minister had not sought time to meet the top leadership of the party. Singh, however, had met the All India Congress Committee (AICC) panel entrusted with the task to end factionalism in the state unit.
Earlier, the AICC panel had submitted the report on the Punjab crisis to Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi with the ground realities and suggestions after the members of the panel met the Punjab Chief Minister.
In order to address the factionalism in the state unit, a three-member panel had been set up by Sonia Gandhi.
It is to be noted that Rahul Gandhi has held meetings with Punjab Congress MLAs, MPs, and other important leaders from the state, including PCC Cheif Sunil Jakhar. On Friday, the leaders who reached Rahul Gandhi's residence to attend a meeting included Vijendra Singla, Rana Gurjit Singh, RS MP Shamsher Singh Dhillon, and MLA Lakhvir Singh.
Rajya Sabha MP Shamsher Singh Dhillon while speaking to mediapersons had said that the meeting was held to resolve infighting in the Punjab Congress and added that decisions were made to strengthen the party in the upcoming elections in the state.
Punjab Assembly polls, scheduled for next year, are being considered crucial for Congress as it is one of the few states where the party is still in power.
In 2017 Assembly polls, Congress won an absolute majority in the state by winning 77 seats and ousted the SAD-BJP government after 10 years. Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) emerged as the second-largest party winning 20 seats in the 117-member Punjab Legislative Assembly.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) could only manage to win 15 seats while the BJP secured 3 seats.
(With ANI inputs)