As Capt-Sidhu war intensifies, Sonia forms panel to bring truce between the two factions [Details]

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As infighting between two warring factions of Punjab Congress has intensified, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday constituted a panel of senior leaders to resolve the issue. The three-member panel is headed by the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, and has former Delhi MP JP Agarwal and Harish Rawat as its members.

As per media reports, the first meeting of the committee will be held in Delhi on Saturday to finalize modalities of discussions and the way forward. The objective of the panel is to bring a truce between two warring factions-one led by Chief Minister Capt Amrinder Singh and another by cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh during a meeting with the chairman of RPG Enterprises Harsh Goenka in Mumbai on April 11, 2017.IANS

Split wide open over sacrilege issue

Infighting between Capt Amarinder and Sidhu started way back in July 2019 when the latter had quit the Cabinet after being divested of local bodies portfolio. The tussle has intensified over the sacrilege issue after Punjab and Haryana High Court last month quashed a probe report into the Kotkapura firing incident.

Two Rajya Sabha members namely Pratap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo along with party MLA from Jalandhar Cantonment and former hockey player Pargat Singh have unofficially joined Sidhu’s camp. Both the Rajya Sabha members have repeatedly opposed the working style of Capt Amrinder Singh.

Navjot Singh Sidhu

India’s Punjab cabinet minister and former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu (C) speaks to journalists after entering Pakistan from India at the border crossing in Wagah on November 27, 2018. – Sidhu arrived in Pakistan to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur Corridor in Nankana Sahib scheduled for November 28.ARIF ALI/AFP/Getty Images

Congress ministers demand action against Sidhu

On May 10, senior ministers in the Capt Amrinder Singh government had urged the Congress high command to take strict action against Sidhu. Terming Sidhu’s onslaught on the Chief Minister as an act of gross indiscipline and an attempt to undermine the Congress government in the state, the ministers said the MLA’s personal attack on Captain Amarinder was an anti-party act, which called for immediate disciplinary action.

The cabinet ministers, including, Brahm Mohindra, Sunder Sham Arora, and Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, came out in strong criticism of Sidhu’s actions and open criticism of the Congress Chief Minister while being an elected MLA from the same party.

What Sidhu said

Earlier on May 8, attacking the Chief Minister, Sidhu said that due to the incompetence of the home minister, the state government is now forced to accept the orders of Punjab and High Court in the Kotkapura firing case.

Sidhu on May 22, challenged Captain Amarinder Singh and his camps’ claim that he wanted important positions in the cabinet and party and demanded the post of Deputy Chief Minister and portfolio of the home department.

He claimed that he never asked for any such position rather he refused the offer of joining the cabinet more than once.



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