In a big development on Wednesday, 4 Punjab Ministers belonging to the Navjot Singh Sidhu camp have departed for Dehradun to meet AICC state in-charge Harish Rawat. They are likely to raise various complaints against Captain Amarinder Singh and seek his ouster as the Punjab Chief Minister. As per sources, this group will request Rawat to forward the bunch of complaints along with the demand for Singh's replacement to the Congress high command.
This comes a day after state Cabinet Ministers Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Charanjit Singh Channi and over 20 other MLAs held a sudden meeting. Raising a banner of revolt against the Punjab CM, they expressed concern over the delay in justice in case of the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib and scrapping of power purchase agreements. Interestingly, this meeting came after Amarinder Singh launched a frontal attack on Sidhu's advisors Malvinder Singh Mali and Pyare Lal Garg over their controversial statements.
Speaking to the media, Punjab Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Charanjit Singh Channi remarked, “A lot of promises have been fulfilled but those promises (the implementation of) which lead to friction with the opposition remain unfulfilled. We no longer have faith that these issues will be resolved. Therefore, we are seeking time from the party high command for a meeting."
Thereafter, Bajwa and other MLAs held an emergency meeting with Sidhu after which the latter agreed to appraise the Congress top brass of the situation. However, 7 legislators- Kuldeep Vaid, Dalvir Singh Goldie, Santokh Singh Bhalaipur, Ajit Singh Mofar, Angad Singh, Raja Warring and Gurkirat Singh Kotli who attended the meeting at Bajwa's residence dissociated themselves from the demand to replace the Punjab CM. While conceding that some of the MLAs tried to raise this demand, they stressed that no unanimous resolution was passed in this regard.
After his resignation from the Punjab Cabinet in July 2019, Navjot Singh Sidhu maintained a distance from party activities. Though Amarinder Singh and Sidhu attempted to resolve their differences over tea on March 17, 2021, a positive outcome proved to be elusive. Sidhu repeatedly began to attack the state government and the CM over the purported delayed justice in the incidents of desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib and the subsequent police firing incident.
To end factionalism in the party's Punjab unit, Congress president Sonia Gandhi formed a committee comprising Rajya Sabha LoP Mallikarjun Kharge, ex-Delhi MP JP Agarwal, and AICC general secretary in charge of Punjab Harish Rawat on May 28. Since then, the panel met multiple stakeholders including MLAs, ministers and the CM to ascertain their views ahead of the 2022 Assembly Elections. Ignoring Singh's protests, Gandhi appointed Sidhu as the Punjab Congress President on July 18 and named Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Pawan Goel and Kuljit Singh Nagra as working presidents.