Amid escalated tensions within Congress in Punjab, former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu met AICC interim chief Sonia Gandhi and general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Rawat on Friday in Delhi. However, after the meeting, Sidhu avoided speaking to the media.
Meanwhile, Rawat told mediapersons that he had come to submit his note to the party president and as soon as he gets to know about her decision regarding Punjab Congress, he will inform the media.
Before the meeting, Narinder Bhambri, OSD to chief minister Amarinder Singh, reached 10 Janpath Road with an envelope fuelling speculations that he was carrying Amarinder’s resignation. CM’s media advisor Raveen Thukral, however, said that the CM had on Thursday made it clear that he would not resign.
It is learnt that the party high command wanted to make the announcement about the next Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief on Friday itself but just before the meeting, former Union minister Manish Tewari subtly tweeted the demographics of Punjab.
He said that Sikhs constitute 57.75% of the population while Hindus and Dalits constitute 38.49% and 31.94%, respectively.
“Punjab is both progressive and secular but balancing social interest groups is key. Equality is the foundation of social justice!” he said in the tweet and tagged the Congress and Rawat.
While Sidhu and Amarinder are both Jat Sikhs, if Sidhu is named PPCC chief, both the top leaders will be Jat Sikhs. The incumbent PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar is Hindu.
Sources said Rawat’s visit to Chandigarh to meet Amarinder was cancelled last night and added appointments of two working presidents, campaign committee chief, coordination committee chief and manifesto committee chief are also likely to be made.
Party sources said that after Amarinder made it known that he was upset and a few leaders expressed their fear that the party could split, Sidhu garnered support from at least five cabinet ministers and 10-15 MLAs. They are learnt to have decided that if Sidhu is not named PPCC chief, the group may quit unanimously.
Meanwhile, Amarinder is also backed by several MLAs, who are preparing to quit if Sidhu is named the PPCC chief.
It is learnt that two Hindu leaders, a first time MLA and a senior Punjab leader, are among those who would be nominated to several posts of the party in Punjab, going to elections early next year.