Wednesday 26 January 2022
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Channi, Sidhu try patching up after losing positions in Punjab Congress election committees

After failing to secure their position in the campaign committees of Punjab Congress yesterday, Sidhu makes a valiant attempt to cosy up to Channi

While in a clear message to an unruly leader and a bumbling one, the INC high command has kept Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi out of its election campaign committees, they are making a last-ditch effort to paint a rosy picture of their cooperation. In the meantime, much to their chagrin, the INC has delegated responsibilities to leaders like Sunil Jakhar, and Prakash Bajwa.

Channi and Sidhu have been able to secure merely their ex-officio positions in the screening committee. But even there, former Union Minister and INC leader from Delhi Ajay Maken will boss over them. According to sources, the INC high command has kept Channi and Sidhu away to prevent their mutual discord from affecting the party’s electoral prospects.

A statement was issued on behalf of the INC last evening that said Jakhar would take over the command of the election campaign committee. has been made the head of the coordination committee while Partap Singh Bajwa has been elected as the chairman of the manifesto committee.

The announcement of the constituents of these committees indicates Jakhar is making a strong comeback in Punjab Congress. He did not get the post of chief minister due to the opposition of Sidhu. Jakhar, miffed with the party high command, targeted Sidhu in his tweets recently after the former removed some district party presidents appointed by him.

Sources say that Sidhu and Channi will not have much of a say in the nominations of candidates for the election either. The INC is contemplating refusing ‘tickets’ to at least 24 of its sitting MLAs who will then likely join the Capt Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Lok Congress-BJP-SAD(U) alliance.

‘Channi and I are two bodies, one soul’

Curiously, Sidhu, who has often put his own party’s government on tenterhooks with his demands, made a strong show of unity with Chief Minister Channi today, saying they are “do jism ek jaan (two bodies but one soul)”.

The mercurial cricketer-turned-politician has in the past raised questions about decisions taken by the Channi government. It was following Sidhu’s strong opposition that APS Deol, who the Channi government had appointed as the state’s advocate general, had to resign.

Sidhu questioned also the appointment of the state’s Director General of Police besides vocally seeking action against the drug mafia and justice in sacrilege cases involving Capt Singh.

Meanwhile, conceding the demand of Punjab Congress President Sidhu, Chief Minister Channi said, speaking at a function in Amritsar, he would soon write to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, urging him to resume India-Pakistan trade through the Attari-Wagah border.

On the occasion, Sidhu said his vision for the state went beyond 2022, for which a roadmap must be framed. “The chief minister and I will implement a better Punjab model.”

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