NEW DELHI: The Congress seems to have worked out a peace deal in Punjab. According to sources, Navjot Singh Sidhu is likely to be named chief of the Punjab party unit while Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh will remain the party’s CM face in the upcoming assembly election.
Congress general secretary in-charge of Punjab Harish Rawat said that a formula to end the tussle between the two leaders is expected to be announced soon. "A formula where both the chief minister and Sidhu work together is being worked out. Sidhu has to be given a prominent post while Amarinder Singh will be party’s CM face,” he said.
Sidhu seems to have eyed the top post in Punjab despite strong opposition by Singh and the majority of party MLAs, MPs, and leaders from Punjab. Sidhu has hinted at joining the AAP if not being made the PCC chief.
Sources said that Sidhu’s candidature got strong backing from former Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who had convinced brother and former party chief Rahul Gandhi to meet him early this month.
In a balancing act in the state which has a sizeable Hindu and Dalit population, the party is also expected to appoint two working presidents. The names of Vijay Inder Singla and Santokh Singh Chaudhary are doing the rounds. Singla is a minister in the Punjab government and Chaudhary is MP from Jalandhar and a known Dalit leader.
Sources said that Amarinder Singh is likely to be named chief of the campaign committee while another of his bete noire, Partap Singh Bajwa likely to be the manifesto committee chairman.
The decision by party high command is not expected to go down well with Amarinder Singh, who has been the face of the party in the state for several years and enjoys a good rapport with Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. He had met her on July 6 over the proposed organisational changes in the state unit and had made it clear that making Sidhu as party chief would turn out to be disastrous for the party in upcoming assembly elections.
Leaders from the state wondered how well the peace formula would work as Sidhu and CM Singh don't see eye to eye on most issues.