- Navjot Singh Sidhu will take the place of Sunil Jakkar as Punjab Congress President
- Amarinder Singh likely to replace Charanjit Channi Gurpreet Kangar from the cabinet.
- For the next elections, the Punjab Congress is attempting to show a united face.
According to sources, Navjot Singh Sidhu will be named chief of the Congress’ Punjab unit soon, as the party works to find a solution to the fierce infighting that has jeopardised its campaign for next year’s Assembly election.
Mr Sidhu, whose long-running battle with Chief Minister of Punjab Captain Amarinder Singh was the highlight of the infighting, will succeed Sunil Jakkar, with two other leaders – one from the Dalit community and the other a Hindu face – expected to be made Working Presidents.
Amarinder Singh will reshuffle his Council of Ministers as part of the compromise, with Charanjit Channi and Gurpreet Kangar among those likely to be removed. Three or four fresh faces are expected, including Assembly Speaker Rana KP Singh and MLA and Dalit leader Raj Kumar Verka.
MLAs made representation of the Dalit community one of their demands to the three-member committee set up by party head Sonia Gandhi to tackle this problem last month.
Amarinder Singh will reshuffle his Council of Ministers as part of the deal, with Charanjit Channi and Gurpreet Kangar among those who are expected to lose their jobs. Three to four fresh faces are expected, including Assembly Speaker Rana KP Singh and MLA and Dalit leader Raj Kumar Verka.
One of the demands made by MLAs to the three-member committee set up by party head Sonia Gandhi to handle this problem last month was that of representation of Dalit community.
As part of its deliberations, the committee met with both leaders.
Amarinder Singh and Navjot Sidhu reached an agreement a week after the Chief Minister met with Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Delhi.
Following the meeting, he stated that he would accept “whatever choice the Congress high command takes,” words that were interpreted as a significant step toward resolving his feud with Mr Sidhu.
Mr Sidhu had met Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra just days before; Ms Gandhi Vadra facilitated the Sidhu-Rahul-Priyanka meeting after Mr Gandhi appeared to snub the former cricketer by saying he had no scheduled interaction with him.
Since the 2017 election, Amarinder Singh and Navjot Sidhu have been at odds; Mr Sidhu had intended to become Deputy Chief Minister, but Mr Singh reportedly thwarted his plans.
Mr Sidhu, the Congress’s star campaigner in the 2017 elections, instead became a minister in the Amarinder Singh government, but resigned after his ministry was downsized two years later.
He began re-targeting Amarinder Singh in recent months, becoming a difficult-to-ignore problem in the run-up to the Punjab polls, after a period of silence and disengagement from party activities.
Mr Singh is the Punjab government’s Electricity Minister, and he has recently attacked the Chief Minister over the power issue and the Punjab government’s legal loss in a 2015 case involving the desecration of the Sikh religious book Guru Granth Sahib and police firing amid peaceful rallies.
Following Mr Sidhu’s recent tweet-attack on the power problem, there were signs of a possible resolution this week. Unlike the previous one, this one was set aside for the Congress’s foes, the Akali Dal and the AAP.
Mr Sidhu told one of the leading news channels of the country last month that he was willing to cooperate with Mr Singh if the Chief Minister met commitments made to the people before the last assembly elections.
Mr Singh had already chastised Mr Sidhu for his unrelenting attacks and complained to the party’s leadership about what he called the cricketer-turned-“complete politician’s indiscipline.”