Punjab Congress wracked by self-made mess

Fears of denial of ticket and/or polltime sabotage are already afloat, given that the Assembly elections are due in six months.

Published: 30th August 2021 12:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th August 2021 10:51 PM   |  A+A-

Amarinder singh, navjot singh sidhu

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and state unit president Navjot Sidhu at an official meeting on Friday. (Photo | Express)

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi spoke too soon the other day when he cited his Punjab unit as a successful model for defusing intra-party bickering. Till the Gandhis meddled in Punjab’s affairs, CM Amarinder Singh seemed certain of defeating anti-incumbency and getting a fresh mandate as he was its most charismatic leader there. It was the CM’s nimble statecraft that gave discomfort to the high command, as it imposed Navjot Singh Sidhu as the state party president, letting him question Amarinder’s decisions publicly and reducing him to a caricature. The sagacity the party recently showed over Chhattisgarh in dealing with the ambitions of T S Singh Deo, who had been promised rotational chief ministership two-and-a-half years ago, was sorely missing in Punjab. As a result, retaining power in Punjab, where the party has a whopping 80 seats in a House of 117, is no longer certain. Both factions are working at cross-purposes, parading their mutual strengths and claiming no-confidence in each other. If Nagaland produced a constitutional wonder a few weeks ago with zero opposition by having all lawmakers on the treasury benches, Punjab is its opposite as the fractured Congress is its own opposition, though not on paper. Fears of denial of ticket and/or polltime sabotage are already afloat, given that the Assembly elections are due in six months.

Sidhu’s choice of a couple of aides became an embarrassment due to their mindless statements on J&K and Pakistan. It prompted the party’s exasperated manager Harish Rawat to direct their sacking, drawing an angry retort from Sidhu that bordered on imprudence and a warning to the high command. His criticism of Amarinder may be valid on many counts, like the inaction on the sacrilege issue, which has been interpreted as being protective of the Badals. But what ought to be thrashed out within the party is being discussed openly, muddling the public messaging.

Unlike regional party heads aspiring for prime ministership, the Congress finds itself under test more frequently in state polls due to its pan-India presence. If it were to lose Punjab, Rahul’s chances of inspiring trust to lead the opposition against the Centre and eventually the government would suffer a body blow.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp