By Siddharth Sharma
Months ahead of Punjab Assembly polls, the rift in the state unit has intensified. While Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu met the party’s General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Wednesday, the party’s top leadership did not meet Punjab Chief Minister Captain (retd) Amarinder Singh who was in Delhi recently for three days.
A senior Congress leader clarified that the Punjab Chief Minister had not sought time to meet the top leadership of the party. Singh, however, had met the All India Congress Committee (AICC) panel entrusted with the task to end factionalism in the state unit.
According to sources, Priyanka held a meeting with Sidhu at her residence this morning. The meeting has come in the midst of a crisis in the Punjab unit of the party.
After meeting Sidhu, Priyanka went to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s residence and had a 40-45-minutes-long meeting with him.
After the meeting with the Wayanad MP, Priyanka returned to her residence and again held a meeting with Sidhu.
Today’s meeting comes even as the party has been embattled with murmurs of rebellion in the state unit.
Earlier, the AICC panel had submitted the report on Punjab crisis to Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi with the ground realities and suggestions after the members of the panel met the Punjab CM.
In order to address the factionalism in the state unit, a three-member panel had been set up by Congress interim President Sonia Gandhi.
It is to be noted that Rahul Gandhi has held meetings with Punjab Congress MLAs, MPs, and other important leaders from the state, including PCC Cheif Sunil Jakhar.
On Friday, the leaders who reached Rahul Gandhi’s residence to attend a meeting included Vijendra Singla, Rana Gurjit Singh, RS MP Shamsher Singh Dhillon, and MLA Lakhvir Singh.
Rajya Sabha MP Shamsher Singh Dhillon while speaking to mediapersons had said that the meeting was held to resolve infighting in the Punjab Congress and added that decisions were made to strengthen the party in the upcoming elections in the state.
Gandhi on Wednesday met many senior Punjab leaders including Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Sunil Jakhar, Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and Harish Rawat in Delhi amid escalating infighting in the party’s state unit.
Punjab Assembly polls, scheduled for next year, are being considered crucial for Congress as it is one of the few states where the party is still in power.
In 2017 Assembly polls, Congress won an absolute majority in the state by winning 77 seats and ousted the SAD-BJP government after 10 years. Aam Aadmi Party emerged as the second-largest party winning 20 seats in the 117-member Punjab Legislative Assembly. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) could only manage to win 15 seats while the BJP secured 3 seats. (ANI)