Punjab Congress MLAs authorise Sonia Gandhi to pick Amarinder Singh’s successor as CM


Team Udayavani, Sep 19, 2021, 9:43 AM IST

Punjab Congress MLAs Saturday authorised party president Sonia Gandhi to pick a new legislature party leader who will succeed Amarinder Singh as the chief minister of the state.

This came after Amarinder Singh resigned as Punjab chief minister, saying he felt “humiliated” at the way the party handled the infighting in the state unit.

A resolution requesting Sonia Gandhi to pick the next chief minister was passed unanimously in a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party here.

Party sources said the name of the new leader is likely to be announced in a CLP meeting called at 11 am on Sunday.

Former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, current state unit president Navjot Singh Sidhu and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa are frontrunners for the post of the CLP leader, the sources said.

Names of senior party leaders Ambika Soni, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Brahm Mohindra, Vijay Inder Singla, Punjab Congress working president Kuljit Singh Nagra and MP Partap Singh Bajwa are also doing the rounds.

Some sources, however, have said the Navjot Singh Sidhu was not in contention for the next CLP leader.

Senior Congress leader Ajay Maken, who was one of the two central observers deputed by the party, informed the media after the meeting Saturday evening that 78 out of total 80 party legislators were present in the CLP meeting, which he called was “very important”.

He said a resolution praising and thanking the contribution of Amarinder Singh towards Punjab and the Congress was also unanimously passed at the meeting.

“We also expect that the party will continue to get guidance from Amarinder Singh,” he further said.

This resolution was moved by Maken and seconded by Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa.

Maken said the second resolution in which the Congress president was authorised to pick the Congress legislature party leader was also unanimously passed.

“Whosoever she picks will be unanimously accepted by everybody,” said Maken.

The senior party leader and former minister said that this resolution was moved by Brahm Mohindra and seconded by MLAs Raj Kumar Verka, Sangat Singh Gilzian and Amrik Singh Dhillon.

“We have apprised the Congress president about these two resolutions. We will wait for her response and guidance,” he further said.

Asked if any names were discussed, Maken replied in the negative.

Earlier, speaking to reporters, AICC general secretary and Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Rawat said outgoing CLP leader Amarinder Singh led with great capability and ran a very good government.

He confronted the challenges faced by Punjab and also found their solutions, Rawat said

After speaking to the Congress president, he took the decision to resign, said Rawat.

The AICC on Saturday held the CLP meeting which it called after bypassing Amarinder Singh who was earlier the CLP leader, amid a rift in the Punjab Congress.

Former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar in a tweet said, “Kudos to [email protected] for adopting Alexandrian solution to this Punjabi version of Gordian knot. Surprisingly, this bold leadership decision to resolve Punjab Congress imbroglio has not only enthralled Congress workers but has sent shudders down the spines of Akalis.”

Sidhu’s principal strategic adviser and former IPS officer Mohd Mustafa in a tweet said it is the time to have a “Congress CM” after a “long agonising wait” of four and a half years.

“Today is the time for course correction,” said Mustafa.

Mustafa’s wife Razia Sultana was a cabinet minister in the Amarinder Singh-led government.

Earlier, reports had surfaced that a section of Congress MLAs had written to the party leadership to convene a CLP meeting to discuss the poll strategy and progress on the 18-point agenda, which includes action on the 2015 desecration cases and arrest of the “big fish” in drug rackets.

Last month, four ministers and around two dozen party legislators had raised a banner of revolt against Amarinder Singh and had said they had no faith in his ability to honour unfulfilled promises.

Four ministers — Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Charanjit Singh Channi — had demanded he be replaced.

The crisis in the party’s state unit has been brewing for the past many months.

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