Punjab: Rana Gurjit, Ashu, Randhawa turn on Navjot Singh Sidhu, Congress unity in tatters | Chandigarh News – Times of India

CHANDIGARH: The debate over Congress’s CM face and the tussle over ticket distribution seem to have added to the internal turmoil in the party’s state unit with cabinet ministers going public over the way issues are being handled.
Taking potshots at PPCC president Navjot Singh Sidhu, cabinet minister Rana Gurjit Singh told TOI, “It has been a tradition with the Congress to announce the CM face at the end and the party leadership knows whom to project. It will do it at anappropriate time, but not under any leader’s pressure.
Sidhu cannot demand that he be made the CM face. ” On Sidhu supporting the candidature of leaders in some constituencies, Gurjit said, “To decide on party tickets is the prerogative of high command, and the state president is a part of the high command. But he has been announcing not just candidature (at some seats) but even promising cabinet berths, much before the party has announced its list of candidates. CM Charanjit Singh Channi hasn’t done such a thing in any constituency. ”
Rejecting speculations over the missing Congress symbol from his posters, cabinet minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu said he would continue to be with the party. “The election symbol comes at the time of the election campaign. It is an attempt to create confusion in Congress.
No prominent Congress leader is switching sides and only MLAs apprehensive of being denied tickets would do that. Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, who joined BJP, was dropped from the cabinet as a non-performer,” he said. He added, “Sidhu will have to learn the culture of the Congress party. When it is collective leadership, then the decision on party candidates should also be collective.
The party leadership will have to be united. ” Commenting on Sidhu’s ‘Punjab Model’, Ashu said, “It has always been ‘Congress Model’ and Congress ideology in the party. If someone has an individual opinion, he should discuss it on the party platform. We are soldiers of the party first. ” On the debate over CM face, he said it was an exception in 2017 when the party announced Capt Amarinder Singh as its CM face. “It has always been a collective responsibility. Elections are fought with two-three faces.
Has BJP or AAP announced any faces? The high command has taken a decision and if need be, it may even announce (the name). The need of the hour is to project a united face to avoid confusion in the minds of people. ” He added that the talk of Congress leaders joining the BJP was baseless.
Ludhiana MP Ravneet Singh Bittu too targeted Sidhu in an interview and said introspection was needed to understand why so many prominent faces and senior leaders were leaving the party. He too raised issues of CM face and Sidhu’s “so-called Punjab model”.
Commenting on Sidhu’s claim that he was not allowed to work as a minister in the Amarinder cabinet and his decisions as PPCC president are not accepted now, Bittu said, “Tomorrow, if Sidhu is made CM, he can easily shrug responsibilities and say he is not being allowed to work by the PM. Why does he choose to take on a responsibility in the first place when he makes such excuses?” Deputy chief minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa said in an interview to a private channel: “In Congress, candidates aren’t supported before a decision is taken by the high command. Only recommendations are sent by leaders… PPCC president should say things that are acceptable to everyone. ”
Amid the fear of losing the race for party ticket looming large over Congress MLAs, the party leadership is anxious about possible poaching of its prominent leaders by BJP, with the latter trying to add new faces. A section of MLAs fear being dropped in case party leadership decides to rely heavily on internal surveys of ‘winnability’.
Besides, the screening committee has also given its view against seat hopping by MLAs. Meanwhile, AICC in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Choudhary has said Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi joined BJP because the party was not keen on giving him a ticket from the desired seat. While the Congress high command has indicated that the Assembly elections will be contested under the “collective leadership” in the state, leaders from the Channi camp are dropping hints and are keen that he be named the CM candidate.