Punjab: Congress MLAs authorise Sonia Gandhi to pick new CLP leader

  • | Saturday | 18th September, 2021

Chandigarh, Sep 18 (PTI) Punjab Congress MLAs on Saturday authorised party president Sonia Gandhi to pick a new CLP leader, who will be the next chief minister of the state. A resolution to this effect was passed unanimously in a meeting of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) here. The move came on a day Amarinder Singh resigned as Punjab chief minister. Former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, current state unit president Navjot Singh Sidhu and minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa are frontrunners for the post of the CLP leader, said sources. Names of Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Congress MP Partap Singh Bajwa are also doing the rounds. Sources in the party said the name of the new leader may be announced on Sunday. Senior Congress leader Ajay Maken, who was one of the two central observers deputed by the party, told reporters that 78 of 80 party MLAs were present in the meeting. He said another resolution praising and thanking Amarinder Singh for his contribution towards Punjab and the Congress was also unanimously passed at the meeting. "We expect that the party will continue to get guidance of Amarinder Singh," he said. This resolution was moved by Maken and seconded by Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa. Maken said the second resolution in which the Congress president was authorised to pick the Congress Legislature Party leader was also unanimously passed. "Whosoever she picks, it will be unanimously accepted by everybody," said Maken. "We have apprised the Congress president of these two resolutions. We will wait for her response and guidance," he further said. To a question on any discussion on names, Maken said there was no such discussion at the meeting. Earlier, Congress general secretary Harish Rawat, who is the incharge of Punjab affairs at the AICC, said Amarinder Singh led with great capability and gave a very good government. He faced the challenges faced by Punjab and also found their solutions. After speaking to the Congress president, he took the decision to resign, said Rawat. The AICC on Saturday held the CLP meeting which it called after bypassing Amarinder Singh, who was the CLP leader, amid a rift in the Punjab Congress. Maken, along with party leader Harish Chaudhary, was appointed the party"s central observer for the meeting. Earlier in the day, former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar in a tweet said, "Kudos to Sh@RahulGandhi for adopting the Alexandrian solution to this Punjabi version of Gordian knot. Surprisingly, this bold leadership decision to resolve Punjab Congress imbroglio has not only enthralled Congress workers but has sent shudders down the spines of Akalis." Sidhu"s principal strategic adviser and former IPS officer Mohd Mustafa in a tweet had said it is the time to have a "Congress CM" after a "long agonising wait" of four and a half years. "Today is the time for course correction," said Mustafa referring to the meeting. Earlier, reports had surfaced that a section of Congress MLAs had written to the party leadership to convene a CLP meeting to discuss the poll strategy and progress on the 18-point agenda, which includes action on the 2015 desecration cases and arrest of the "big fish" in drug rackets. Last month, four ministers and around two dozen party legislators had raised a banner of revolt against the Punjab CM and had said they had no faith in Amarinder Singh"s ability to honour unfulfilled promises. Four ministers--Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Charanjit Singh Channi--had raised a demand for replacing the CM. PTI CHS SUN VSD RDK RDK

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