Hours after Punjab Chief Minister got all the Congress Lok Sabha MPs and MLAs, the party high command announced Navjot Singh Sidhu as the new PCC chief. This comes after weeks of infighting and in face of strong opposition by Captain Amarinder Singh.
It also named four working presidents instead of the expected three as a placatory gesture towards Amarinder, who fought fiercely against Sidhu’s appointment, before finally conceding and saying the latter should at least apologize publicly for his diatribe against his government. Finally, the top Congress leadership didn’t allow the Chief Minister either.
Amarinder Singh had suggested different names of his choice for working presidents and PCC chief — Cabinet minister Vijay Inder Singla, Tarsem D C, Raj Kumar Chabbewal, and Ajit Inder Singh Mofar, however, he was ignored. The party instead appointed Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Kuljit Nagra and Pawan Goyal as working Presidents on Sunday.
While Gilzian has been publicly critical of the Chief Minister recently, Danny was considered close to him. Pawan Goyal is the son of Congress leader Bhagwan Dass, who was assassinated during Punjab militancy. He had invited their ire by removing a turban from his head and tying it on then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi during his visit to Punjab.
However, Kuljit Nagra took to Twitter and thanked Sonia and Rahul Gandhi for appointing him as the working President.
There were indications of a possible resolution this week as Sidhu had attacked the Punjab CM over the power crisis and the 2015 case involving the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib and police firing during peaceful protests. An import from the Aam Aadmi Party, Sidhu had turned up the volume by praising former leader Arvind Kejriwal to spite the Punjab CM.
However, ahead of the parliament’s monsoon session, Congress president Sonia Gandhi reconstituted the parliamentary groups inducting G-23 dissenters such as former Union ministers P Chidambaram, Manish Tewari, Ambika Soni, and former chief minister Digvijaya Singh.
The reshuffle comes a day before the monsoon session of the Parliament is set to begin after two curtailed sessions due to the ongoing pandemic. In Parliament, the Congress is set to corner the government over the ongoing price rise, economy, Centre’s Covid handling and slow pace of vaccination and there is also indication that the party will raise the issue of scam in Rafale deal in which the French court has recently ordered an investigation.
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