Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 26
Amid conflicting reports of the party high command keen on projecting former Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu as the new chief of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC), a behind-the-scene move is in works to project a veteran OBC leader from the state for the coveted party post, it is learnt.
Being seen as a move to scuttle rehabilitation of Sidhu in the organisational platform, the logic being given for the move is that it will suit the present caste matrix in the state party unit and will be acceptable to the party high command. At the same time, responsibility for a Dalit leader from Doaba in the organisation is also being discussed.
Going by seniority, political acumen and caste matrix, Lal Singh, chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board and a former Finance Minister, could best suit the combination.
A Congress leader says there is more keenness to facilitate Navjot Sidhu’s reinduction into the Cabinet as he has already been offered portfolios of choice.
Going by seniority, political acumen and caste matrix, Lal Singh, chairman of the Punjab Mandi Board and a former Finance Minister, could best suit the combination. Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has been assigning responsibilities to the veteran leader during the last parliamentary elections and during the recently held civic body polls, said a senior party leader.
“In the given circumstances, if the PPCC chief is changed, it has to be with the consent of the Chief Minister. There was more keenness to facilitate Sidhu’s re-induction into the Cabinet as he has already been offered portfolios of choice. But he does not want to fall in the previous trap after he left the Cabinet,” said a Congress leader.
A proposal in this regard was being pushed by a lobby, including some Cabinet ministers close to the powers-that-be. It could, however, not be confirmed whether the proposal has been discussed with AICC general secretary and Punjab affairs in charge Harish Rawat, who has been making efforts to bring Sidhu back into mainstream politics. Rawat was not available for a comment.
Utterances by Jalandhar Cantonment MLA Pargat Singh, questioning performance of his government, is being seen in the party circles as the reason behind the move to counter the advances of Sidhu and influence Rawat, who had been pushing for an important role for him. Interestingly, Pargat Singh is close to Sidhu and a senior government functionary in the Congress government.
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