Updated: July 1, 2021 5:58:09 am
With Congress high command still grappling with infighting laid bare with Navjot Sidhu’s tirade against his own party’s government in Punjab, CM Amarinder Singh will on Thursday have a lunch meeting with two dozen Hindu leaders from the Congress at his residence.
The meeting comes amid murmurs of discontent among party leaders belonging to the community.
The leaders invited for the lunch meeting include party MP Manish Tewari and five Cabinet ministers — Brahm Mohindra, O P Soni, Sunder Sham Arora, Vijay Inder Singla and Bharat Bhushan Ashu and MLA Raj Kumar Verka.
The meeting will also have Anish Sidana, a member of Kandi Area Development Board, who resigned from the board two days ago on the plea that he was resigning as the Congress had failed to give a proper representation to OBCs and Hindus in the state.
His resignation had come on a day when Sidhu’s media team had sent out messages that Sidhu will be meeting Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. On the same day reports had indicated that the high command was toying with the idea of making Sidhu the state Congress chief.
If Sidhu is made to head PPCC by replacing the incumbent Sunil Kumar Jakhar, who is also a Hindu leader, the Congress will have two Jat Sikhs in Amarinder heading the government and Sidhu heading the party organisation.
Punjab Congress, credited with wiping out militancy from the state in 1990s, counts Hindus among its support base. Punjab has a sizeable population Hindus at around 40 per cent of the state’s population.
Ashwani Sekhri, a former MLA who was set to join SAD on June 28 and was later placated by Amarinder, has also been invited for the meeting.
He has been miffed with Cabinet Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, who has been nurturing Batala, a constituency earlier represented by Sekhri.
Batala is the only constituency in Gurdaspur where Congress had been fielding a Hindu candidate. General Secretary incharge Harish Rawat has also called Sekhri to Delhi on Friday for a meeting.
“It is going to be an interesting development to watch. If Hindu leaders start speaking up that Congress was not giving them representation, then it could become a part of the narrative ahead of the 2022 elections. The BJP would not mind making the most of this opportunity,” a party leader said.
A number of Hindu leaders have often expressed their displeasure, although privately, that the Congress was “over-playing” Bargari sacrilege, even towards the fag end of its tenure while the sacrilege took place in 2015.
Sidhu has been harping on sacrilege and police firing after sacrilege and has been demanding action in the case.
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