Congress panel on Punjab submits report to Sonia, Amarinder to stay
The Congress panel constituted to resolve factionalism in the party in Punjab, submitted its report to party interim President Sonia Gandhi on Thursday.
Sources said the panel has not recommended the removal of the Punjab Chief Minister and Captain Amarinder Singh is likely to lead the party in the next elections. Instead, a slew of reforms has been suggested in the party state unit.
While the fate of Navjot Singh Sidhu is still not clear but sources said the panel wants his rehabilitation in the Punjab cabinet. Amarimder Singh is averse to Sidhu being elevated to the post of Deputy CM but is ready to accommodate him in the cabinet, sources said.
Last week, the panel headed by senior Congress leader and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress' Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat and former MP J.P. Aggarwal met all the stakeholders in the party. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh also met the three-member Congress panel.
After the meeting Amarinder Singh had said, "The meeting was to discuss the preparations for the Assembly elections scheduled early next year. These are our inner party discussions and I don't propose to share them with you."
The rift in the Punjab Congress had surfaced after former state Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu along with Pargat Singh opened a front against the Chief Minister.
The All India Congress Committee (AICC) was forced to constitute a committee to listen to the grievances of its Punjab leaders, after a group led by Sidhu suggested a change in the state leadership. However, sources said that there has been no discussion on replacing Amarinder Singh.
The Congress wants to pacify Sidhu and retain him in the party by making some minor adjustments, without going for a major shake-up, sources said.