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Punjab Congress crisis | No word yet on leadership role for Navjot Singh Sidhu

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu leaves after meeting party president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi on July 16, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Former Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday met Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence, 10 Janpath, after the infighting in the State Congress intensified following reports that he will be made the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) chief.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) in charge of Punjab Harish Rawat, who was part of the meeting along with former party chief Rahul Gandhi, told reporters that Ms. Gandhi was yet to take a call on the proposed changes to revamp the PCC.

After the hour-long meeting, Mr. Sidhu avoided speaking to the media but Mr. Rawat did. “I had come here to submit my report on Punjab to the Congress chief and as soon as a decision is taken by the party president, I will come and share it with you,” he said.

Asked if Mr. Sidhu would be made PCC chief, he queried, “Who says this?”

On Thursday, however, Mr. Rawat, in response to the same question (whether Mr. Sidhu would be the new PCC chief), observed that “a formula was being worked around it”.

“What one puts as breaking news, it is their own interpretation. I don’t interfere in their area. And secondly, until the Congress president has cleared it, I don’t know what is on her mind and her last decision,” he stated.

The leadership is desperate to broker peace between Chief Minister Captain (Retd.) Amarinder Singh and Mr. Sidhu before the State goes to the polls early next year.

The crisis in the State Congress is said to have escalated on Thursday after Mr. Rawat hinted that Mr. Sidhu could be elevated as the PCC chief, with two working presidents: one from a Hindu community and the other a Dalit.

The suggestion, however, did not go do well with Captain Amarinder Singh’s camp. He is said to have reiterated his view that both the party and the government cannot be headed by Jat Sikhs (both him and Mr. Sidhu) and the party organisation should be headed by a Hindu leader.

Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, who met Ms. Gandhi on Thursday, is learnt to have batted for the Chief Minister.

While Capt. Singh met his loyalists at his farmhouse on Thursday, Mr. Sidhu met a group of MLAs, including dissident Ministers.

Reflecting the Chief Minister’s view, Lok Sabha member from Punjab Manish Tewari said the demographics of Punjab showed that Hindus made up 38.49% of the population after Sikhs, who make up 57.75%.

He tweeted, “Punjab is both progressive & SECULAR. BUT balancing SOCIAL INTEREST GROUPS is key. EQUALITY”.

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Printable version | Sep 17, 2021 10:53:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/navjot-singh-sidhu-meets-sonia-gandhi-as-punjab-congress-crisis-escalates/article35357315.ece

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