August 28, 2021 5:41:15 am
A DAY after putting up a show of strength, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Friday called on former CM and his one-time detractor Rajinder Kaur Bhattal at her residence in Sector 2.
Bhattal is vice chairperson of the Punjab Planning Board. The meeting is being seen as Amarinder’s effort to “reach out” to all senior leaders after having faced a revolt from his loyalists.
Bhattal, who was a member of G-23 of Congress, had also raised a banner of revolt against Amarinder when he was the CM during his first tenure from 2002 to 2007. She had then accompanied disgruntled MLAs for a meeting with the high command stating Amarinder had lost confidence. After that Bhattal was named Deputy CM.
Other leaders were seen as bitter rivals till 2017, after which Amarinder had appointed her the vice chairperson of Punjab Planning Board after she had lost Assembly election from Lehra-Gaga constituency.
On Friday, both CM and Bhattal were seen exchanging hugs and meeting warmly.
Amarinder, who has already got his another detractor and Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa on his side lately, has now turned to Bhattal for garnering support in the face of a rebellion launched by PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. His camp, comprising Amarinder’s loyalists turned detractors in Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Sukhjinder Randhawa, has sought Amarinder’s removal alleging quid pro quo between him and Akalis.
After taking over as PPCC chief, Sidhu had met Bhattal and stated that he had been playing in her lap as a child.
RAWAT MEETS SONIA
Amid the raging crisis in Punjab Congress, party general secretary incharge Harish Rawat met AICC chief Sonia Gandhi Friday to inform her about the developments that have taken place in the past two days.
A delegation of MLAs and ministers had met Rawat seeking ouster of the Chief Minister on Wednesday. On Thursday, Amarinder put up a show of strength at his aide and Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi’s official residence. The meeting between Sonia and Rawat, it is learnt, discussed the rebellion against the Chief Minister, his show of strength and Navjot Sidhu’s remarks about giving a befitting response if he was not allow to take decisions.
Rawat is learnt to have taken a report on the number of MLAs who had attended the meeting of rebels and those who attended CM’s dinner.
After the meeting, Rawat told the media, “I have informed Sonia Gandhi and told her that all parties will follow her instructions. There have been a few issues in Punjab but we are trying to resolve them. The situation is under control.”
On Amarinder’s show of strength, Rawat said that it was a dinner meeting and cannot be called a show of strength. “Rest it is up to the leaders of Punjab Congress to decide as to what they prefer to call it.”
On reports that he had sought to be relieved from his Punjab responsibility, Rawat said he had sought it from the party high command as he wants to concentrate on his state, but he will abide by what the party leadership will decide.
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