Punjab political disaster: Top developments | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Navjot Singh Sidhu’s shock resignation as Punjab Congress chief drew a flurry of political reactions on Wednesday.
Earlier at the moment, Sidhu broke his silence over the resignation and expressed reservations over the appointments of the director common of police, advocate common and “tainted” leaders.
Meanwhile, Punjab chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi stated he spoke to Sidhu over the telephone and invited him for a dialogue.
Here are the highest developments of the day …
Ready to make any sacrifice: Sidhu
Sidhu had put in his papers on Tuesday shortly after the allocation of portfolios to the members of the brand new state Cabinet led by Charanjit Singh Channi.
While the rationale for his resignation wasn’t clear yesterday, Sidhu on Wednesday took to Twitter and raised questions over the appointments of the director common of police, advocate common and “tainted” leaders.
Posting a video message on Twitter, Sidhu stated his goal had all the time been to enhance the lives of individuals and “to make a difference”.
“My fight has been on issues and a pro-Punjab agenda, for which I have stood for a long time,” he stated.
Apparently referring to senior IPS officer Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota, who has been given the extra cost of the director common of Punjab Police, Sidhu stated, “Today, I see there is a compromise on those issues.”
In an apparent reference to the 2015 desecration of Guru Granth Sahib incidents in Faridkot, he said his first priority was to fight for justice the people have been eagerly waiting for.
“I see those who had given clean chits to the Badals six years ago … have been given the responsibility of delivering justice,” he added.
Sahota was the head of a special investigation team formed in 2015 by the then Akali government to probe the sacrilege incidents.
Sidhu also apparently questioned the appointment of A P S Deol as the state’s new advocate general.
“My soul jitters when I see those who secured blanket bails, they are advocate general. What is the agenda here,” he asked.
Deol is a senior advocate of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and has been a counsel for former Punjab DGP Sumedh Singh Saini. He had been representing the ex-top cop in various cases against him.
“Those who used to talk about issues, where are those issues now? Where are the means? Will we reach our destination with these means,” Sidhu apparently asked the current state leadership.
“To fight for justice of ‘Guru Sahib’ and to improve the lives of people of Punjab and for the means, I will make any sacrifice but will always stand by principles,” he said.
A system which included “tainted” leaders and officers is being introduced again after being dismantled, he stated, including, “I oppose it.”
He was obliquely referring to the induction of Rana Gurjit Singh as a minister in the Charanjit Singh Channi-led Cabinet.
Singh was included in the ministry despite protests by some party leaders over his past. He had to resign from the Amarinder Singh ministry over allegations of impropriety in the auction of sand-mining contracts.
Channi speaks to Sidhu
A day after Sidhu’s resignation, CM Channi reached out to the cricketer-turned-politician and offered to resolve issues through talks.
Channi also said the party is supreme and the government follows the party’s ideology.
“I’ve spoken to Sidhu sahab over the phone at the moment. Party is supreme and the federal government accepts the social gathering’s ideology and follows that. (I instructed him that) you need to come, sit and discuss,” he instructed reporters on the sidelines of a cupboard assembly.
“The (state) president is the head of the party. The head has to sit among the family,” he said, adding that Sidhu had agreed to meet.
Channi, however, defended the appointments, saying he had acted on the basis of feedback from the party members.
“I have no objection or any ego in anything,” he stated, indicating that he was able to overview the choices.
‘G23’ leaders speak out
Meanwhile, several G23 leaders – who are part of the group that has been demanding organisational reforms – expressed concern over the crisis unfolding in the poll-bound state.
Sources said that senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad wrote a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and asked her to convene an urgent meeting of Congress Working Committee (CWC).
Reacting to the development, senior Congress leader Kapil Sibal said: “I imagine that one of my senior colleagues has maybe written or is about to write down to Congress president to right away convene a CWC so {that a} dialogue can happen as to why we’re on this state.”
He also spoke about the informal G23 group, saying that it’s not “Jee Huzoor 23”, in an apparant dig at some party leaders.
“We are usually not ‘Jee Huzoor 23’. It could be very clear. We will maintain speaking. We will proceed to reiterate our calls for,” Sibal was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
Sibal added that G23 leaders are are not the ones who will leave the party and go anywhere else.
“It is ironic. Those who have been near them (social gathering management) have left & these whom they do not think about to be near them are nonetheless standing with them,” he stated.
Another G23 chief, Manish Tewari, additionally expressed concern over the Punjab crisis.
He stated that he’s “extraordinarily distressed” after Sidhu’s resignation and claimed that the only people who are happy with what is going on in the border state is the “deep state of Pakistan”.
Tewari pointed out that a safe pair of hands is required to keep the ship on an even keel in the state when it is going through intense social upheaval because of angst in people against farm laws.
“As a Punjab MP, I’m extraordinarily distressed about happenings in Punjab. Peace in Punjab was extraordinarily laborious-gained. 25,000 individuals, bulk of them Congressmen, sacrificed themselves to carry peace again to Punjab after combating extremism and terrorism between 1980-1995,” Tewari told ANI.
Amarinder Singh meets Amit Shah
Amid high drama unfolding in Punjab, former chief minister Amarinder Singh on Wednesday met Union home minister Amit Shah in the national capital.
Though his visit to Shah’s residence is said to be “private”, there is a buzz that the meeting might be a percursor to an alliance.
Notably, Amarinder resigned the chief minister of Punjab earlier this month after weeks of tensions with Sidhu.
He was replaced by Dalit leader Charanjit Channi.
Punjab in charge Harish Rawat closely following developments in state
The Congress on Wednesday said that AICC general secretary in charge of Punjab affairs Harish Rawat is closely following the political developments in the state and is in the best position to comment on the matter.
Asked about the dramatic developments in Punjab, Congress spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said Rawat is closely monitoring the situation and is completely aware of all the happenings which she may not be and therefore, she would not like to comment on it.
Shrinate told reporters that since Rawat is the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in charge of Punjab, he is in the best position to answer queries on developments in the party’s state unit and should be contacted for comments.
However, Rawat could not be reached for a comment.
BJP questions stability of Punjab
Asserting that stability in Punjab is essential for national security, the BJP on Wednesday hit out at the Congress over the political volatility in the border state and called it a “collosal failure” of Rahul Gandhi.
BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra expressed concern over the situation in Punjab and said the Congress, which is in power there, has become synonymous with “instability”.
With Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation plunging the state into a fresh political crisis, Patra said the state has been plagued by a clash of ambitions.
He noted that senior Congress leaders like Manish Tewari have also expressed their concern over the situation in the state as Punjab’s stability is important for national security.
Taking a swipe at the Congress leadership, he said the Gandhi family had gone to Shimla on vacation after replacing Amarinder Singh as chief minister.
“The complete episode has delivered to fore the colossal failure of Rahul Gandhi,” the BJP spokesperson said and accused the Congress of targeting journalists to divert the attention from the Punjab crisis.
Delhi chief minister and AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal said the Punjab government has been reduced to a “tamasha” and urged new CM Channi to immediately remove “tainted” ministers from his cabinet.
(With inputs from PTI)

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