Rahul Gandhi to declare Cong' CM face for Punjab polls on Sunday: Harish Chaudhary
Addressing a virtual rally in Jalandhar, Rahul Gandhi had said both Channi and Sidhu have assured him that whosoever is chosen as the party's chief ministerial face, they will stand by the decision.
CHANDIGARH: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi will announce the name of the party's chief ministerial candidate for the Punjab elections on Sunday when he visits Ludhiana for a virtual rally, party's senior leader Harish Chaudhary said on Friday.
Reacting to the development, Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi reiterated that he would wholeheartedly back the party's candidate who would be named for the chief ministerial post.
"On February 6, Rahul Gandhi ji will visit Ludhiana and from there will address a virtual rally in the afternoon and announce the CM face," Chaudhary, who is party's Punjab affairs in-charge, said here.
Channi, who was in Bhadaur, the second assembly seat from where he is contesting the polls, when asked about the party's announcement about the CM face, said, "I had already said from the stage in Jalandhar (virtual rally) that I will go with party's decision on CM face. I have already made a commitment from the stage in Rahul Gandhi's presence that whosoever is made CM face, I will wholeheartedly back him and the same commitment has been made by Navjot Singh Sidhu and other leaders."
"Whosoever's name is announced, we will go with him," Channi added.
During his last visit to Punjab on January 27, Gandhi while addressing a virtual rally in Jalandhar, had announced that the Congress will soon declare its chief ministerial face for the February 20 polls and a decision on it will be taken after consulting the party workers.
Besides taking feedback from the leaders and workers of the party, the Congress is also seeking the opinion of the public on who should be its chief ministerial candidate through an automated call system.
In the 117 assembly constituencies in Punjab, Congress MLAs and party leaders along with supporters in as many numbers as allowed according to the Election Commission guidelines will remain present when Gandhi addresses the virtual rally from Ludhiana, Chaudhary said.
Ahead of the announcement of the chief ministerial face for the Punjab Assembly polls by the Congress, party's state unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu had said "people at the top" want a weak chief minister.
"People at the top want a weak chief minister who can dance to their tunes," Sidhu said addressing his supporters in Amritsar on Thursday evening.
However, he did not make it clear whether he was referring to the Congress central leadership or anyone else.
When asked about Sidhu's remarks, Chaudhary said, "If one goes through Sidhu's entire statement, then this question won't be asked. It will become clear that he is not speaking about Congress party but about Narendra Modi's BJP."
He said Sidhu had assured the people of Punjab that when the party announces the name of the chief ministerial candidate, he would wholeheartedly support it. Channi had also repeated the same thing, Chaudhary added.
To another related question to the "weak chief minister" remark of Sidhu, Chaudhary quipped, "Both Sidhu and Channi are not weak."
For the last several weeks, both Chief Minister Channi and Sidhu have, directly or indirectly, made a case for themselves to be declared as the party's nominee for the top post.
On Thursday, Sidhu's wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu said irrespective of who becomes the chief minister, her husband is a 'hero' and will remain so. Her reply came when asked about her husband's political future if he does not become the chief minister of Punjab.
Addressing a virtual rally in Jalandhar last week, Rahul Gandhi had said both Channi and Sidhu have assured him that whosoever is chosen as the party's chief ministerial face, they will stand by the decision.
He had said this after Sidhu demanded at the rally that the Congress declare its chief ministerial face for the Punjab polls and said he does not want to be a "showpiece".
Channi had then said he was never after any post and would wholeheartedly back the party's candidate for the top post. Channi replaced Amarinder Singh as the chief minister in September last year. He is the first chief minister from the Scheduled Caste (SC) community in the state.
Polling for the 117-member Punjab Assembly is scheduled to be held on February 20. The counting of votes will be taken up on March 10.