Punjab Congress Crisis: Sidhu likely to continue as state party chief after meeting with CM Channi breaks deadlock

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Updated: October 01, 2021 9:45 AM

Navjot Singh Sidhu and Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Wednesday where the two are said to have reached an agreement on “contentious” appointments. 

Navjot Singh Sidhu and Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Wednesday where the two are said to have reached an agreement on “contentious” appointments. 

After a surprise resignation from his post and then questioning the appointments of the DGP and some “tainted” leaders, Navjot Singh Sidhu is now likely to continue as the Punjab Congress chief. This comes after he met Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Wednesday where the two are said to have reached an agreement on “contentious” appointments. 

Meanwhile, news agency PTI quoted sources saying that a coordination panel is likely to be set up, which is expected to be consulted before any major decisions by the Punjab government in future. The panel may comprise the CM, Navjot Singh Sidhu and a representative of the AICC

The Indian Express quoted sources saying that both sides agreed during a three-hour meeting to leave the decision on the appointment of an Advocate General to the Congress high command. A few hours later, Channi’s government sent a panel of names for the post of DGP to the UPSC — the appointment of DGP IP Singh Sahota had been opposed by Sidhu.

Sidhu had been seeking the removal of Advocate General A P S Deol on the grounds that he was a defence lawyer of former DGP Sumedh Saini, against whom Punjab Vigilance had filed a case. Saini had obtained bail.

On the other appointment — DGP Sahota — Sidhu had tweeted before meeting Channi: “DGP IPS Sahota was head of SIT investigating Beadbi case under Badal Govt, he wrongfully indicted two Sikh youth for sacrilege & gave clean chit to Badals. In 2018, I along with INC Ministers, then PCC Pres & present Home Minister assured them of our support in fight for Justice.”

The development in the Punjab Congress came on a day when former chief minister Amarinder Singh was in Delhi and said he will quit the Congress, which he asserted was going downhill with senior leaders being ignored. But Amariner scotched speculation of his joining the BJP.

Former state party chief Sunil Jakhar also said there should be an end to attempts to undermine the authority of the Punjab chief minister time and again. Jakhar said “aspersions” being cast on the selection of the state’s advocate general and state police head were actually “questioning the integrity of the CM”.

Jakhar was obliquely referring to Sidhu who had raised questions over the appointments of the director general of police and the state’s advocate general. “Enough is enough. Put an end to attempts to undermine the authority of CM time and again. Aspersions being cast on the selection of AG & DGP is actually questioning the integrity/competence of CM and Home Minister to deliver results,” he said.

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