Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will be in Delhi tomorrow to meet the three-member party panel formed to resolve the infighting in the state. A section of the party has contended that they cannot win the assembly election due next year under the leadership of Mr Singh. The dissent grew to such proportions that party chief Sonia Gandhi had to form a team to look into the issue.
Party sources have said grievances against the Chief Minister are varied, including under-representation of Dalits in the government and the inaccessibility of the Chief Minister due to his coterie. The state leaders are also hugely concerned over the government’s inability to take action against the culprits in the cases involving desecration of Guru Granth Sahib and police firing during peaceful protests in 2015.
The MLAs are now worried that since most of the promises have not been delivered over the last four-and-half years, they may face the wrath of rural voters the way the BJP is facing in Punjab, party sources said.
Over the weekend, the team, led by senior party leader Mallikarjun Kharge, started meeting the state leaders. They plan to meet all the state leaders individually.
On Tuesday, the team met Navjot Sidhu — the cricketer-turned-politician whose continuing feud with the Chief Minister since the party came to power in the state in 2017 has been a key divide within.
The two have clashed over multiple issues — the latest being over a High Court order that scrapped the report of a Special Investigation Team in the Guru Granth Sahib desecration case, and asked the state to set up a new team.
Mr Sidhu declared Tuesday’s meeting as a victory for Punjab. “Punjab jitega, punjabiyat jeetegi (Punjab will win, Punjabis will win),”he told reporters after the meeting.
“I came here to present the people’s voices – from grassroots to the High Command. My stand on democratic power is the same. The power of the people must return to them. I have clearly stated the truth,” he added.