The state of Punjab Congress officials who met with state party in-charge Harish Rawat in Dehradun on Wednesday claimed they had a “very fruitful” three-hour discussion with him and told him about Amarinder Singh’s “quid pro quo” with the Akalis and that if he stayed on as Chief Minister, the party would lose the polls.
“Kuchch majboorian rahin hongi (He must have had some compulsions),” a source said when asked about Rawat’s statement that the Congress will fight the polls under Amarinder. “Rawat Sahib patiently heard to them out,” a leader close to the rebel camp added. He informed them that a change in CM is on the way. “It’s just a matter of time,” said the leader.
The rebel leaders are expected to travel to Delhi on Thursday in order to meet with AICC President Sonia Gandhi.
Ministers Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Charanjeet Singh Channi, and Sukhbinder Sarkaria, as well as MLAs Barindermeet Pahda, Kulbir Zira, and Surjit Dhiman, were among the seven leaders who met with Rawat.
Channi said, “In the Congress, there is a procedure. If we are upset due to any reason, we have to meet the general secretary first for approaching the party high command. For that, we met him (Rawat) today and are satisfied with his assurance… We will follow the decision of the high command.”
Rawat claims that the current events will not harm the Congress’ election prospects. “We will resolve the internal issues. Everyone will contest the polls unitedly.” Rawat also stated that he would soon travel to Delhi to meet with the high command.
Three other MLAs, Nathu Ram, Satkar Kaur, and Kaka Lohgarh, who were among the 34 MLAs who allegedly convened at Bajwa’s home on Tuesday to urge Amarinder’s dismissal, backed down on Wednesday. The CMO said on Tuesday that seven of the MLAs present at the meeting had pledged their support for Amarinder.
Nathu Ram claimed that he never notified anyone that he wanted the Chief Minister changed. In fact, in the second year of Amarinder’s government, he and his assistant Dhiman became the first two MLAs to raise a banner of mutiny against him. Satkar Kaur claimed she had been informed the meeting would focus on constituency development and that she had complete faith in Amarinder. Kaka Lohgarh stated that he was not one among those who demanded the CM’s removal.
Former minister Rana Gurjit Singh accused the rebels of enjoying the perks of power and now whining, while Amarinder’s wife, Preneet Kaur, an MP, accused them of harming the party before of the elections. MLA Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa warned Navjot Singh Sidhu, the incoming Punjab Congress head, to be aware of such persons. In response to a question on the controversy surrounding Sidhu’s advisers’ social media posts, Rawat claimed Sidhu had been told to “control” them.
Malvinder Singh Mali, who has come under heat for comments on Kashmir, separated himself from Sidhu on Wednesday. He described the remarks as his personal perspective, but conceded that he made them at the inappropriate moment.