Former chief of Congress’ Punjab unit Sunil Jakhar on Saturday praised his colleague Rahul Gandhi for his “bold leadership decision” to resolve the crisis in the party’s state unit.
“Kudos to Shri Rahul Gandhi for adopting Alexandrian solution to this Punjabi version of [the] Gordian knot [used to mean a difficult problem],” Jakhar said in a tweet. “Surprisingly, this bold leadership decision to resolve Punjab Congress imbroglio has not only enthralled Congress workers but has sent shudders down the spines of Akalis.”
Jakhar’s tweet did not make it immediately clear which decision he was referring to.
However, his statement came amid reports that Chief Minister Amarinder Singh could resign from his post, months ahead of the Assembly elections in the state.
Reports suggest that Jakhar is among the contenders being considered for the position of the next chief minister, according to The Tribune.
The others that the Congress is reportedly considering are Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa and Punjab minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa.
Late on Friday, the Congress’ leader in charge of Punjab, Harish Rawat, had called for a sudden meeting of all party MLAs from Punjab at 5 pm on Saturday.
Rawat had said that the party had received a representation from many MLAs calling for a meeting of the Congress’ Legislative Party in the state.
On Saturday afternoon, Punjab ministers Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Charanjit S Channi, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, as well as Assembly Speaker Rana KP Singh reached the party office at Chandigarh for the meeting, ANI reported.
The crisis in the Punjab unit of the Congress was caused because of a rift between Singh and party’s state President Navjot Singh Sidhu, who had been demanding a more prominent role. Singh and Sidhu had been publicly criticising each other for months before the latter was appointed the Congress’ chief in Punjab on July 18.
Before Sidhu took over the post, Jakhar had been chief of the Punjab Congress for over four years.
Singh and Sidhu on August 20 formed a group to improve coordination between the party and the state government.
But confrontations continued between the chief minister and the state Congress president.
The turf war between Singh and Sidhu goes back to June 2019, when the latter was a minister in the state government. At the time, Singh had divested Sidhu of the key portfolios of local government, tourism and cultural affairs and allotted him power and new and renewable energy sources instead.
Subsequently, Sidhu submitted his resignation as Cabinet minister on July 15, 2019.
The Punjab Assembly elections are expected to be held in February or March 2022. The Congress will seek to retain power and fend off the challenges by the Akali Dal-Bahujan Samaj Party alliance, the Aam Aadmi Party, and the Bharatiya Janata Party.