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AICC observers in talks with Punjab leaders to pick new CM

Senior Congress leader Ajay Maken with Harish Rawat and Navjot Singh Sidhu briefing the media, in Chandigarh.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Hectic talks on Sunday were going on to finalise the name of new leader of the Punjab Congress Legislature Party (CLP), a day after Amarinder Singh resigned as the Chief Minister.

All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary and Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Rawat and party's central observers Ajay Maken and Harish Chaudhary are camping at a hotel here, holding discussions and taking feedback.

Former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, the party's current state unit president Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa are the frontrunners for the post of the CLP leader, who will be the new chief minister.

According to sources, the central observers were also in touch with the party leadership in Delhi.

The sources said the party may also go in for two deputy chief ministers in order to balance the caste equations.

If the party goes for a Hindu face as the CLP leader, then a Sikh and a Dalit can be made deputy CMs, they said.

Meanwhile, the party legislators said they will accept whatever the party leadership decides on the CLP leader.

A meeting of the Punjab Congress Legislative Party (CLP), which was slated for 11 am on Sunday, has been deferred, with party sources saying that a consensus is yet to be made on the name of the new CLP leader.

A party leader said the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting has been deferred.

Party sources said a consensus is yet to be made on the name of the new CLP leader, who will be the new Chief Minister of Punjab after the resignation of Amarinder Singh on Saturday.

“We will abide by whatever the party leadership decides,” said a party leader.

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AICC general secretary and Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Rawat and party’s central observers Ajay Maken and Harish Chaudhary are currently in the city.

Punjab Congress legislators on Saturday had authorised party president Sonia Gandhi to pick a new CLP leader.

Congress veteran Capt. Amarinder Singh resigned as Chief Minister of Punjab with less than five months to go for the Assembly polls after a bruising power struggle with state party chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, and had said that he felt “humiliated” over the way the party handled the protracted crisis.

The 79-year-old Amarinder Singh, one of the Congress’ powerful regional satraps, had put in his papers after speaking to the party president and shortly before a crucial meeting of the CLP here on Satruday evening.

He had later launched a no-holds-barred attack against Mr. Sidhu, describing his bete noire, a cricketer-turned-politician, as a “total disaster”.

Congress sources had said the party — also battling dissensions in Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh where its governments are in power — is trying to balance equations in the poll-bound state and is likely to appoint a Hindu face like Jakhar to the top post. Mr. Jakhar, who is not an MLA, is believed to be close to the top Congress leadership.


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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 10:12:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/punjab-congress-legislative-party-meeting-deferred/article36547140.ece

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