punjab assembly polls

Congress will soon announce party's CM face in Punjab: Rahul Gandhi

'Both Sidhu and Channi are of the opinion that two cannot lead and both assured me that they will help whoever is named'

Tribune News Service

Deepkamal Kaur

Jalandhar, January 27

Former AICC chief Rahul Gandhi on Thursday said he would soon announce the Chief Ministerial candidate for Punjab Assembly polls.

Addressing a virtual rally at a palace on Mithapur road here falling in Jalandhar Cantonment seat, Rahul said that either of the two -- Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and PPCC chief Navjot Sidhu – would be picked. He said opinion would be sought from the party workers before making the announcement.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi addressing a virtual rally at Mithapur in Jalandhar. — Video grab

Rahul said he discussed the issue with both Sidhu and Channi on his way to the venue. Both were of the opinion that two persons cannot lead Punjab. They told me, “The biggest question everyone is asking in Punjab is who of the two will take the lead. There cannot be two leaders. If one gets the chance, the other one will pledge support for him. I was really happy with it. So, I thought that if the party leaders, workers and Punjab want it, we will take the decision. We will do it by seeking the opinion of our workers and I want everyone to fight as a team.”

Prior to his speech both Sidhu and Channi set the narrative in this direction. Sidhu said, “People are asking who will be the leader to put forth the party agenda. I will accept ever other decision of yours. Meinu darshani ghoda na bana dena (Do not make me a mere showpiece).”

Starting his speech with the verses of Guru Ravidass, Channi told Rahul, “If you have liked my 111 days of CMship, a thought could be given for the next five years.” He was, however, quick to change his stance, “You have already given too much to someone whose family has not even had anyone even as an MLA. Pick anyone as CM face. I assure you my full support. This is the demand of Punjab today. Other parties mocking at us that our marriage procession does not have a groom. They say that we are fighting. Let them all say it.”

At this, he invited Sidhu near him on the dais and hugged him. Sidhu responded with a warm gesture as ministers Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Pargat Singh also came along.

In his speech, Rahul said while coming here today, an idea came to his mind, “The name of the state -- Punjab includes Congress symbol ‘Panja’ (hand).” On the recent farmer agitation, he said, “The farmers never wanted those farm laws. They want revolution not evolution.” He spoke on many plans already put forth by Sidhu in his Punjab Model for the past few days.

Affirming that his party would give a push to the industry, Rahul said, “We want ‘Made in Punjab’ labels to go popular.”

On governance, he said, “We will start single window system for 160 services under ‘Sarkar aapke dwaar’ project. We will focus on decentralisation.” On women issues, Rahul said, “I have suggested that a dedicated women manifesto must be released with two-three main promises.”


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