Solution to Punjab Congress Impasse imminent, says senior Congress leader Ashwani Kumar : The Tribune India

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Solution to Punjab Congress Impasse imminent, says senior Congress leader Ashwani Kumar

The Tribune Interview: Ashwani Kumar, former Union Minister

Solution to Punjab Congress Impasse imminent, says senior Congress leader Ashwani Kumar

Ashwani Kumar Former Union Minister. Tribune Photo: Manoj Mahajan



Congress veteran Ashwani Kumar has called for "politics of accommodation" to end the impasse where a section of MLAs led by Navjot Sidhu are pitted against CM Capt Amarinder Singh. In an interview to The Tribune correspondent Aditi Tandon, he says the matter will be resolved soon and deputy CM-ship for Sidhu may be the way forward. Excerpts:

  • Dissidence in Punjab Congress is on the rise again. What's the solution?

The need to address the grievances of party leaders is evident and senior leaders are entitled to their views. In a democratic party, this should, however, be done within the framework of party discipline without vilification of the leaders and public denigration of the CM. This is the time to shed political bickering and stand in empathy with Covid sufferers. Immediate financial relief to the urban poor and urgent satisfactory closure to the sacrilege case should be the government's focus.

  • What future do you foresee for Navjot Sidhu?

He is a valued colleague. The party is expected to use his services suitably consistent with his stature. Any formula for compromise and accommodation must respect mutual sensitivities.

  • There has been a proposal to appoint Sidhu as Punjab Deputy CM, but many insiders have objected.

Sidhu's elevation could be a way forward and a consensus can be built around it. The CM is keen to unite the party and can be expected to take a call in consultation with and advice of the central leadership. Political placements in key positions are not a function of seniority alone. Capacity and utility at a given point of time are important considerations. The central leadership is keen to take all Congress persons together. I feel the impasse will be resolved soon.

  • Who will lead the party in the next elections?

Normally the incumbent CM is the face of the party during elections, unless for exceptional reasons the central leadership decides otherwise. I believe Capt Amarinder Singh will be the face of the party next year too.

  • What are the Congress' prospects going forward, given acute and rampant factionalism?

The Congress is in an advantageous position considering the Akali Dal and the BJP are in disarray and AAP is yet to establish a pan-Punjab presence.

  • Congress has suffered several poll reversals. What’s the way forward?

Those who gloat over the party's temporary reversals should know that time doesn't stand still. The nation is ready for a transformation. The challenges for the Congress are to optimally marshal its human resources and remain at the centre of the national movement for change.

  • Where do you see yourself in future?

Punjab is my karma bhoomi. I will continue to assert myself on critical issues concerning the state. Elevating politics will be the driving force of my political exertions.


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