Punjab Congress crisis: CM Charanjit Singh Channi asks 'head of family' Sidhu to resolve issues

Sidhu in a veiled dig at the new Punjab government stated that he cannot compromise with his ethics, moral authority and pointed out that he didn't want a 'repeat of a system of tainted leaders'.
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and CM Charanjit Singh Channi leave Punjab Bhawan in Delhi. (Photo| Parveen Negi, EPS)
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and CM Charanjit Singh Channi leave Punjab Bhawan in Delhi. (Photo| Parveen Negi, EPS)

CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi on Wednesday reached out to a miffed Navjot Singh Sidhu and offered to resolve issues through talks, a day after the former cricketer resigned as the state Congress chief.

Meanwhile, efforts are on to placate Sidhu as several party leaders, including ministers Pargat Singh and Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, met him at his residence in Patiala.

They urged him to work to strengthen the party.

Channi also said the party is supreme and the government follows its ideology.

Talking to reporters here on the sidelines of a Cabinet meeting, Channi said, "The (state) president is a head of the party. The head is to sit in the family (party)."

"I have spoken to Sidhu sahab over the telephone today. The party is supreme and the government accepts the party's ideology and follows that. (I told him that) You come, sit and talk," he said.

"If you (Sidhu) feel there is anything wrong, you can point it out," he said.

When asked what was Sidhu's response, Channi said the leader told him that he would sit and talk, and would give him time for a meeting.

To a question, Channi said Pargat Singh and some other leaders went to meet Sidhu.

"We will sit with him and talk," he said.

Asked if Sidhu had done the right thing, Channi said he could not comment on it.

"I will never deviate from issues of the people of Punjab," he said.

Channi said his government will set up a team under a special prosecutor for fighting cases in courts.

"We are setting up a team of a special prosecutor and 10 members, and it will handle our (state government) important cases," he said.

"A special team will be appointed. Therefore, there should not be any doubt on me. Everything will be transparent," he further said.

He said, "Whatever feedback we got from colleagues and others and whosoever could be appointed, we appointed. But the decisions will be taken according to the people of Punjab."

"I have no objection or any ego in anything. I am very clear. If anything sends wrong message to people, I will not be rigid on it," he said in an apparent reference to recent appointments.

The CM said he would never step back on issues for which he had been fighting, apparently referring to delivery of justice in the 2015 desecration cases.

Meanwhile, party leaders Pargat Singh, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring, Fateh Jung Bajwa, Inderbir Singh Bolaria, Surjit Dhiman and PPCC working president Pawan Goel met Sidhu at his residence in Patiala.

However, Sidhu remained confined to his home ever since he resigned.

The Amritsar-East legislator stuck to his guns and raised a question over the appointments of director general of police, state's advocate general and "tainted" leaders.

Amritsar-South MLA Inderbir Singh Bolaria said Sidhu's is like his elder brother and he came to meet him.

He said the issues raised by Sidhu should be looked into by the party high command.

MLA Fatehjang Bajwa said the cricketer-turned-politician is a straight forward man.

"Everything is going to be alright by evening today. All issues will be resolved," he said.

Earlier, minister Gurkirat Singh Kotli said Sidhu's move may damage the party.

"I will say in the interest of the party and people of Punjab, we should fight together. He has been given a big position by the Congress and he occupies a responsible post of the party. He should work for the party and strengthen the state government," he said.

Asked if Sidhu's move embarrassed the party, Kotli said it sends a wrong message.

"There is a good image of the party and the government. People want us back in 2022. It can cause damage to the party and we should not do it," he said.

He said Sidhu is a strong leader and people have high hopes from him.

Minister Randeep Singh Nabha said whatever issues Sidhu has should be resolved.

"If we consider the party our mother and 'dharma' and if we take such steps, then somewhere damage is caused to the party," he said.

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