In an attempt to end the stalemate between Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Congress MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu, 25 MLAs of Punjab will meet the high powered committee formed by Sonia Gandhi in Delhi to sort out the internal tussle of the party in the state. As per sources, the party meeting is likely to be held on Monday at 11 am.
Earlier on Friday, Congress President Sonia Gandhi had set up a three-member committee to resolve differences among its leaders in Punjab amid an open war of words between Amarinder Singh and his former cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu. The panel comprising Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge as chairman, with AICC general secretary in-charge for Punjab affairs Harish Rawat and J P Aggarwal met for the first time on Saturday morning at the party headquarters.
The committee comes in the wake of infighting and factionalism within the Punjab unit of Congress ahead of the 2022 assembly elections in the state. Sources have said that the panel was formed by Sonia Gandhi on late Friday night but was not announced publicly.
Meanwhile, confirming the development, Harish Rawat said the panel is tasked with the twin objectives of strengthening the party and government in Punjab and resolving differences within the party leaders in the state. "Our primary mandate is to strengthen the government and the party at the grassroots level and to help unite the Congress in Punjab and ensure its victory in the 2022 assembly polls," Rawat told PTI. He further said that the three leaders will meet on Saturday at the AICC headquarters to work out modalities on how to go about fulfilling its objectives.
When asked about Navjot Sidhu's tweets against the Punjab Chief Minister, Rawat said, "He is criticising the central government over management of COVID-19 and farmers support. It's like a fight between brothers."
Earlier on May 21, Sidhu had targeted Amarinder Singh over the 2015 sacrilegious incidents involving Guru Granth Sahib and the killing of two people in police firing. "To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice," he had tweeted. On April 27, Amarinder Singh had challenged Sidhu to contest polls against him from Patiala. He had said that indiscipline would not be tolerated in the party at any cost and that if Sidhu wants to contest against him then he is free to do so, but that would only lead to Sidhu meeting the fate of General JJ Singh who lost his security deposit in the election.
The Chief Minister had also asked Sidhu to clearly spell out whether he is a member of the Congress party or not. Responding to Amarinder Singh's remarks, Sidhu had said that he was only "fighting for justice". "Efforts to derail Punjab's conscience will fail ... my soul is Punjab, and Punjab's soul is Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Our fight is for justice and punishing the guilty. An assembly seat is not even worth discussion in the same breath!" Sidhu had said in a tweet.