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MLAs leave Punjab CLP leaderís decision to Sonia
Naveen S Garewal/TNS

Chandigarh, March 17
Congress MLAs in Punjab today passed a one-line resolution authorising party president Sonia Gandhi to select the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader. The name of the CLP leader is expected to be announced in Delhi tomorrow.

Elected party MLAs, party in charge of Punjab affairs Gulchain Charak, and observers Sushil Shinde and Mohsina Kidwai met here today to elect a CLP leader. Sonia is likely to go with the suggestion of party observers.

Seven of the 46 Congress MLAs were absent as the meeting was called on short notice. The Punjab Vidhan Sabha will hold its first meeting on Monday.

The Congress is expected to announce the name of its CLP leader tomorrow in Delhi. It is expected that the party high command will try to appoint a Dalit as the CLP leader because the party has seen erosion in its Dalit vote bank.

Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh moved the resolution to authorise Sonia Gandhi to make the selection. The resolution was unanimously accepted.

Some MLAs wanted to discuss the reasons for the partyís poll debacle but observers said another meeting would be called for the purpose as today's meeting was specifically to elect a CLP leader.

After the meeting, an informal discussion was held between some legislators. Reasons for the partyís defeat were shared with senior party leaders and some names were also suggested for the CLP leaderís post.

Some legislators told The Tribune that they could not voice their opinion at the meeting, but leaving all affairs of the state to the Central party leadership, as had been done today, was one of the reasons for the partyís defeat in the elections.

They felt that remotely trying to impose decisions on party men has led to disconnect between the reality and perception of the central leadership. This led to wrong selection of candidates and the setback to the state Congress.

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