Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, January 16
The strife within the Congress, egged on by the party high command to ensure subservience, is the main reason that led to the fall of Rana Gurjit Singh. On target was Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. Rana Gurjit was just the means to hit out at the “powerful” CM.
The resignation sought by the party high command even after he was cleared by Justice Narang Commission is meant to assert its supremacy. The stupendous win in Punjab elections last year had been attributed to the CM’s personal charisma and his mass connect, rather than a voters’ engagement with the Congress. Ten months into office, it was time the party high command wielded its influence, amid repeated complaints of unrest among MLAs aspiring to be ministers.
Considered a close confidant of the CM, Rana Gurjit has remained in the eye of the “sand” storm since the Congress government assuming office. Within the government and within the Congress, pressure had been mounting on Amarinder to drop Rana Gurjit after The Tribune expose on his interests in sand mining in May last year.
Sources say that the final nail in the coffin proved to be the expose that irrigation contractor Gurinder Singh paid money to the relative of his chartered accountant allegedly for sand mine bidding.
The high command was also reportedly inundated with complaints against Rana by the PPCC leadership; and, at least two ministers who had been “rubbed the wrong way” by him.
Political speculation is also rife that the “coterie” in Delhi did its own bit to influence the party high command to seek Rana’s resignation. This coterie has its own “confidants” among the Congress MLAs, vying for a cabinet berth. By taking resignation from Rana Gurjit, not only has the CM been shown “who is the boss”, but it makes the Cabinet expansion imminent. The move has triggered speculation of a Cabinet expansion this month itself and all aspirants have renewed their efforts to procure a berth. As many as nine (including a replacement for Rana, if his resignation is accepted) MLAs can to be adjusted.
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