TO ENSURE that Congress Legislature Party (CLP) chief Charanjit Singh Channi’s first Vidhan Sabha session, since taking over from Sunil Jakhar, witnesses an united opposition effort in an election year, senior party leaders have decided to be part of the first CLP meeting to devise the party’s strategy in the House.
The Vidhan Sabha session begins on Tuesday. Party general secretary incharge, Dr Shakeel Ahmad, and secretary, Harish Choudhary, are specially visiting Chandigarh on March 9 to attend the CLP meeting.
Channi, it is perceived, is not being helped by Punjab Congress president Capt Amarinder Singh, who neither attended his taking over ceremony nor a function organised in Channi’s segment a few days ago. Channi has been handed over the reins of the CLP after the removal of Sunil Jakhar, an Amarinder loyalist. Jakhar has been sulking in isolation as he has not been rehabilitated by the party yet.
The CLP meeting is being organised at Channi’s official residence in Sector 2 here, which, according to him, has been converted into a CLP office. Capt Amarinder has also been invited for the meeting and is likely to attend. Sources said the idea behind choosing Channi’s residence for the meeting was to empower him and convey a message subtly that the high command was backing him.
This assembly session holds importance as the NDA-led government at the Centre, of which SAD is a constituent, has favoured Haryana’s cause in the river-water sharing dispute. Capt Amarinder is crediting with passing a law during his rule to terminate the agreement that provides for sharing of water and the Congress does not want to lose the opportunity of raising it in the Assembly. Moreover, it is Channi’s first session as CLP leader, the Congress wanst to ensure that he has everybody’s backing.
“Since most of the MLAs are strongly with Amarinder, it will not be a cake walk for Channi to garner their support. Concerns towards this have already been raised in a recent meeting between Dr Ahmad and senior leader Ambika Soni, Amarinder Singh and Channi,” a Congress leader said.