Quits as PCC chief, a minister, office bearer follow
Gandhis regret their decision to trust the former cricketer
Amarinder Singh, in Delhi, says ‘I told you so’
The Congress high command was made to lick its wounds by the unpredictable cricketer-turned-politician and BJP leader-turned Congress neta Navjot Singh Sidhu who announced his resignation as PCC chief on Tuesday. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi who appeared to have pampered Sidhu and asked the incumbent chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh to step down unceremoniously and then went on to select a Dalit Sikh Charanjit Singh Channi to take over as chief minister. Now it is in a bind not knowing what to do.
Also read: Gujarat happens in Punjab with a difference
Sidhu, known for his temperamental attitude, had taken the party leadership by surprise just as he surprised the BJP leadership before the 2017 assembly elections. He is understood to be unhappy with some of his detractors being made ministers and entrusted with important portfolios. While Sidhu had resigned from his position as PCC chief, minister Razia Sultana and a couple of office bearers who are loyal to Sidhu had also announced their resignation.
If you have friends like Sidhu you don’t need enemies. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka in their enthusiasm to take the reins from the hands of their ailing mother had shock of their lives. Captain Amarider Singh said “I told you so.” It was only expected. He cannot be blamed if he joins the BJP or floats an outfit of his own. He has been very clear in his attitude towards Sidhu. He said Sidhu cannot be entrusted with the a border State like Punjab since he is unpredictable and a security risk. Amarinder knows Sidhu and also his father very well. But the Gandhis thought the old captain was saying bad things about Sidhu since he did not like him a bit. They banked on Sidhu and asked the captain to get out. They made the choice of the new chief minister with the express consent of the former cricketer.
Also read: Sidhu takes over as PCC president in style
They also made former Uttarakhand chief minister Harish Rawat, AICC observer to Punjab, declare that the next elections would be fought under the leadership of Sidhu thus making the Dalits, who are one third of Punjab population, unhappy thinking that Channi’s elevation was only for three months before elections. The Congress leadership was forced to make errors by Sidhu who ultimately created a crisis by quitting. Even if the brother and sister persuade Sidhu to stay back the damage done to the reputation of the party is not going to diminish. Amarinder Singh told media persons that he would announce his big decision very soon. He is in Delhi waiting to have meetings with Amit Shah, union home minister and Nadda, BJP president.
Gandhi family must be ruing its decision to trust Sidhu and entrust the party to him. Punjab politics is known for its volatility. Punjabis in general are more emotional than the politicians of other States. Punjab looked like a safe bet for the Congress a couple of months ago with AAP still to improve, the Akalis in a bad shape and the BJP far behind. But things have changed all of a suddent in a couple of weeks thanks to the errors in judgment made by Rahul and Priyanka. Retrieving the situation in Punjab is a challenge before the young Gandhi. The joy of a promising young leader like Kanhaiya Kumar joining the party was short lived with the unsavory developments in Punjab.
Also read: Punjab Congress crisis deepens