'Course-correct', AICC panel to Punjab CM; wants Navjot Sidhu 'suitably accommodated'

Recommends no major changes at top in report on 'power tussle'

'Course-correct', AICC panel to Punjab CM; wants Navjot Sidhu 'suitably accommodated'

Sidhu, who quit the Amarinder Singh Cabinet in July 2019 after being divested of local bodies portfolio, has been hoping for rehabilitation for a long time. Tribune file

Aditi Tandon

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 10

Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh should helm the Congress in the election year, his former Cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu should be “suitably accommodated” and all sections of Punjab society must be justly represented in leadership and party positions, the AICC panel on Punjab on Thursday suggested in its report submitted to party president Sonia Gandhi.

Also read: Pargat dares Amarinder to make public names in ‘dossiers’ submitted to AICC panel

Revitalisation of Punjab Congress prime purpose of AICC panel report: Ashwani Kumar

The panel, headed by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, has reported the above sentiment to Sonia based on the dominant views expressed by a host of leaders who deposed before it during a two-week deliberation that ended recently.

The committee, sources say, has made suggestions to ensure the party returns to power in 2022 and issues of the electorate are duly addressed with fair representation in party and government positions to the Sikhs, Hindus and the Dalits.

The jist of committee suggestions is for everyone’s interests to be taken care of, The Tribune has learnt and for representation to leaders from all communities in the party and the government.

The panel is learnt to have reported to Congress chief the majority view of state leaders that the CM should stay in the larger interest of the party, and winnabiity with just a year left for the next elections.

In the sum and substance of deliberations, no changes were sought at the very top, with most leaders seeking course correction in the way the government reached out to people and in meeting election promises of the Congress.

On Sidhu, the panel is learnt to have noted his importance and called for his suitable accommodation with the CM being against making him state unit chief in place of Sunil Jakhar.

The committee has left the nature of accommodation of Sidhu to Sonia Gandhi after lack of unanimity on the formulation although the proposal of offering a deputy chief ministership to Sidhu was discussed along with a similar role to prominent Dalit and Hindu leaders. The final formulation would depend on a larger agreement between the CM and Sidhu.

The committee has also recommended an organisational revamp to represent all sections of Punjab people and revival of dormant state committees, besides measures to benefit farmers and Scheduled Castes.

The panel is said to have taken note of Punjab CM’s defence on the allegation of detractors that he is inaccessible.

The CM is learnt to have said that in Covid times the issue of inaccessibility was not very relevant and that he had been engaging stakeholders online.

The sacrilege issue finds a mention in the report with the CM assuring that law would take its course.

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