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Rattled Congress goes into damage-control mode in Punjab after ED raid on CM’s nephew

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Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and PPCC president Navjot Singh Sidhu.(File Photo)

Rattled by the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) investigation throwing up a Rs 68 crore money laundering trail linked to Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s nephew, the Congress has gone into damage-control mode in the state.

It has conducted a fresh survey on Twitter to gauge the popularity of Channi and the damage suffered by the party on the issue as Rs 10 crore in unaccounted cash, a huge amount of gold and a Rolex watch also seized from the CM’s nephew. 

Nikhil Alva, who is the top honcho of Congress looking after social media, asked netizens from his personal handle about their choice for the Chief Ministerial candidate, if the party returned to power after elections.

Voices in favour of Channi as CM, within the party have subsided. Navjot Singh Sidhu, PPCC president has refrained from condemning the ED raids. There is an undercurrent in the party against building a hype in favour of Channi lest it mar the prospects of other candidates. The opposition is already terming Channi as a "baimaan aadmi".

Congress on Thursday approached the Election Commission of India seeking its intervention to stop use of central agencies against the party candidates just before elections. Though, BJP has maintained that war against corruption need not be politicised.

There is confusion the state Congress, and the party is now reported to be reviewing the allotment of tickets for more than six seats as it faces a threat that ignored leaders would join the BJP.

AICC has sent Hardik Patel and Kanhaiya Kumar, both central leaders to Punjab to help in the election campaign after the ED raids on Bhupinder Singh alias Honey, a nephew of the CM.  

In a major shift in its poll campaign strategy, the Congress is now talking about safeguarding interests of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiat rather than focusing on Dalits and other poorer sections of society. It is also raising sacrilege controversy for which the Badal family has come under fire and the drugs issue.

Also read:  Punjab CM Channi’s image takes a battering as nephew’s link surfaces in mining scam