Congress MP Manish Tewari on Wednesday said that Punjab needs a chief minister who has solutions to the state’s challenges and the capacity to take tough decisions, in remarks apparently aimed at Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and state party chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Both Channi and Sidhu have expressed interest in being the Congress’ chief ministerial candidate for the Punjab Assembly election, which will be held on February 14.

Tewari, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Anandpur Sahib, on Wednesday made the remarks while citing a report by The Indian Express stating that Channi urged the Congress to name a chief ministerial candidate.

“Punjab NEEDS serious people whose politics is NOT Social Engineering, Entertainment, Freebies and NOT regime favourites rejected by people in successive elections,” Tewari said in a tweet.

Tewari has been critical of the Congress leadership on multiple occasions in the recent past. In November, his remarks criticising the United Progressive Alliance’s response to the November 26, 2008, attacks in Mumbai were used by the Bharatiya Janata Party to attack the Congress.

Tewari made the remarks in his book 10 Flashpoints; 20 Years.

“There comes a time when actions must speak louder than words,” he wrote, according to The Indian Express. “26/11 was one such time when it just should have been done. It, therefore, is my considered opinion that India should have actioned a kinetic response in the days following India’s 9/11.”

Tewari was also one of the Congress leaders who had written to Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi in 2020 seeking an organisational overhaul of the party. The group was commonly referred to the Group of 23.

Charanjit Singh Channi took over as the Punjab chief minister on September 20, amid a turf war in the Punjab Congress between Sidhu and former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

However, Sidhu continued to take on the Congress leadership on some occasions even after Channi took over as chief minister. On November 25, he threatened to go on a hunger strike if the state government did not publicly release reports on drug abuse and the 2015 case related to sacrilege of the Sikh holy text Guru Granth Sahib.