Latest News Today – Harish Rawat On Congress’ Punjab Crisis

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Amarinder Singh and Navjot Sidhu have been rivals since the 2017 Assembly election (File)

Chandigarh:

The Congress has ruled out a change of leadership in Punjab – one of just three states it rules on its own, and where it is scrambling to contain dissent within its ranks ahead of next year’s election.

Senior leader Harish Rawat, part of the three-member committee that met 28 people, including 25 rebel MLAs, told reporters Monday night they were informed of several concerns, including lack of action against the culprits in the 2015 Guru Granth Sahib desecration case and police firing.

He also said the MLAs had “high expectations from Amarinder Singh, hence the resentment”.

“Our leaders told us they want to develop their constituencies. They were given some funds but now they need more. It is like ‘dil mange more (the heart wants more)’-type situation with the MLAs,” Mr Rawat, the former Uttarakhand Chief Minister, said.

He said the committee would try to resolve other issues, including lack of Dalit representation.

Sources confirmed to NDTV the committee may recommend appointing two Deputy Chief Ministers – at least one of whom will be from that community – in a bid to end this crisis.

Dalit leader Raj Kumar Verka, the Amritsar (West) MLA, has hinted at “good news”.

The committee, set up by party chief Sonia Gandhi, is scheduled to meet Amritsar (East) MLA Navjot Sidhu – who is Amarinder Singh’s big rival within the party – at 11.30 am.

Among other issues, the two have clashed over a Punjab and Haryana High Court order that quashed a SIT report into the 2015 desecration case, and asked the state to set up a new team. 

More law, less justice… Justice delayed is justice denied,” Mr Sidhu tweeted. Mr Singh hit back by calling his outbursts “total indiscipline” and suggesting the former cricketer might leave to join the AAP.

The committee will also meet Jalandhar MLA Pargat Singh, who alleged threats from Amarinder Singh’s aide, and is expected to invite the Chief Minister for talks on Thursday or Friday.

Meanwhile, Amarinder Singh, on Tuesday morning, released a statement that said his government would “fulfill all poll promises before going to the people for blessings for the 2022 election”.

On Monday party sources said their grievances were against Mr Singh – a Gandhi family loyalist and a hugely influential figure who broke the 10-year rule of the Akali-BJP combine in 2017.

Rebel MLAs and leaders said they did not expect to win the 2022 election under his leadership.

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