Congress plunges into deep turmoil ahead of Punjab polls as Sidhu and Channi are at loggerheads over CM’s post


One time friends, Charanjit Singh Channi, Chief Minister of Punjab and Navjot Singh Sindhu, State Congress Chief, are at present at loggerheads over the issue of next CM of the State (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@MadhuPatil836)

The Congress has plunged into deeper turmoil ahead of the elections in Punjab as Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu are at loggerheads over the chief minister’s post. 

While Sidhu had said on Tuesday that "the people of Punjab" will choose the new Chief Minister, as opposed to the party high command, Channi dropped a big hint of his own.

The Congress should announce a chief minister candidate before the election, Channi told a local channel, Pro Punjab TV.  "When the party declared its CM candidate during the 2017 elections, it won. Before that, when it did not declare the candidate, it lost. Whenever the party has not announced the CM candidate, it has lost. So the party should announce it," he said.

While Channi refused to comment on who should be named by the party his hint was clear when he harped on his own popularity talking about “people waving at him wherever he went and even breaking through barricades in their efforts to come and meet him.

Sidhu had bluntly said on Tuesday when he asked reporters: "Who told you the high command will pick the Chief Minister?" It is the people of Punjab who will pick the new Chief Minister. 

Channi is also trying to project that Sidhu is defying the Congress high command. He said that it is the Congress leadership that will decide.

Congress leader Sunil Jakhar had also recently commented that the Congress would not announce a chief ministerial face before the election.

The party will contest the polls under a "joint leadership", Jakhar had said last month. This clearly brings out the fact that senior leaders are quite miffed with Channi who is viewed as having got the top job in the state by default.

Interestingly, neither Sidhu nor Channi are talking about the choice of the state Congress legislature party. MLAs normally elect the chief minister or authorise the party President to name the CM as has been the case previously.

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