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‘All issues will be resolved’: Channi plays down differences with Sidhu

On sidelines of the CWC meet in Delhi on Saturday, AICC leader Rahul Gandhi, according to sources, had told Channi not give an issue to Sidhu that could dent Congress’s chances in the state.

Charanjit Singh Channi and Navjot Singh Sidhu.

A day after Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu posted on twitter his letter AICC chief Sonia Gandhi flagging his “13-point agenda” for the state, CM Charanjit Singh Channi Monday said that all matters will be resolved and party’s agenda implemented fully.

“Be it a 13-point, 18-point, 21-point or 24-point agenda, we are implementing it in letter and spirit. No point will be left out,” Channi said on Monday when asked about Sidhu’s letter to Sonia Gandhi.

Channi’s remarks come at a time when Congress has been struggling to placate Sidhu despite several meetings in the last 20 days.

On Sunday, Sidhu had a meeting with Channi in presence of AICC observer Harish Chaudhary, Rahul Gandhi’s aide Krishna Allavaru and Cabinet minister Pargat Singh till 1:15 am. On Monday, another meeting went on for over six hours between Sidhu, Chaudhary and Allavaru at Punjab Bhawan.

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“Sidhu raised his 13-point agenda in both the meetings. Channi and Sidhu even had a showdown in the meeting on Sunday night. While Sidhu asked Channi on why he did not want to fulfil the promises for which the Congress had replaced its CM, Channi is learnt to have told Sidhu that he had only 60 days left and he was doing his best to fulfil all the promises. At one point, Channi got very upset with Sidhu when the latter spoke to him about fulfilment of a promise to provide government jobs to youth. He even told Sidhu that he was willing to forgo his chief ministership and Sidhu was most welcome to be the CM and show his performance in two months time,” a source privy to the discussions said.

On Monday, Channi sought to downplay any differences between the two.

“If you (reporters) feel there are any differences, I will make him (Navjot Singh Sidhu) sit here in the next meeting…It’s alright that he (Sidhu) raised the issues and the state party president has the right. We have to implement the party’s ideology. The party is supreme. All issues will be resolved,” Channi said.

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On sidelines of the CWC meet in Delhi on Saturday, AICC leader Rahul Gandhi, according to sources, had told Channi not give an issue to Sidhu that could dent Congress’s chances in the state.

The CM was told to take a call on replacement of Advocate General, APS Deol, sources claimed. Sidhu has been seeking replacement of Deol on the plea that he was the defence lawyer of former DGP Sumedh Saini.

Channi, however, has not taken a decision on the matter yet and may do so in a day or so.

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Sources also said that Rahul told Channi that he was doing well but, “it will be better to take Sidhu into confidence so as not to lend any handle to Sidhu to bash Channi.”

Meanwhile, during Sunday’s meeting between Sidhu and other Congress leaders, including Channi, Chaudhary is learnt to have confronted the PPCC chief on his letter to Sonia.

On having a Majhbi Sikh and another OBC in Cabinet, Sidhu was told that they had taken two-time MLAs in the Cabinet and no Majhbi Sikh fits the bill.

Also, he told Sidhu that an OBC was already taken, sources said.

“Chaudhary told Sidhu that there was no method to keep everyone happy,” said another source.
Meanwhile, Sidhu’s wife, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, while talking to reporters in Amritsar on Monday praised Channi as a decent and honest leader, and said that there was no infighting, “only debate” in the party.

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She also said at the meeting between Channi and Sidhu last night, cancellation of PPAs was discussed and now the Advocate General and his team was working to find a way forward. (WITH PTI INPUTS)

First published on: 19-10-2021 at 05:31 IST
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