NEW DELHI: With the Congress party’s troubles in Punjab far from over, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi met Rahul Gandhi on Thursday to discuss the upcoming assembly poll strategy and issues repeatedly flagged by state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu in the backdrop of former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh announcing a new party.
The meeting comes amid speculations on Amarinder’s possible alliance with the BJP, which were further fuelled by Singh’s scheduled meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday.
While announcing his party, Amarinder had said his meeting with Shah was to find a solution to the ongoing farmer agitation but had added that he was open to alliance with the BJP.
The meeting, however, was postponed as Shah left for Gujarat for a party function to mark the National Integration Day on October 31.
According to sources, Rahul and Channi discussed the possible impact of Amarinder’s party on the Congress’s prospects in the assembly elections next year, especially with a section of state leaders still being disgruntled over various issues.
They also talked about the MLAs who have been loyalists of the former CM and how to prevent them from switching to his new political outfit.
Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday had met some of these MLAs along with Punjab’s Deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa.
“Singh’s decision to contest all 117 seats could cut votes but there are only 10-12 seats where he can influence voters and damage the Congress’s chances. We will have to wait and watch how things turn out in the coming weeks,” said a senior Congress leader.
The continuing rift between Channi and Sidhu has also added to the party’s headache. During the CM’s meeting with Rahul, discussion was also held on Sidhu questioning the government’s appointments.