Updated: August 18, 2021 1:06:39 am
Congress general secretary in-charge, Harish Rawat, on Tuesday advised Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and the party’s new state unit chief Navjot Singh Sidhu to exercise restraint, as a silent rift continues to brew between both the leaders.
Speaking to The Indian Express over the phone, Rawat said he had a piece of advice for “Sidhu Sahib” as well as “Captain Sahib”. “My mind is very clear. As PPCC chief, we expect vinamrata (humility) and saumayata (gentleness) from Sidhu sahib. The CM should be respected. Respect for the CM is respect for the state. If the CM is held in high esteem that means the people of the state are held in high esteem,” Rawat said.
In the same breath, he had a piece of advice for the Chief Minister too. “There are some reports coming to Delhi from Punjab that a witch hunt is on against MLAs and ministers. This should not be done. We are getting reports that grants are not being released for constituencies of certain MLAs and ministers. Also, their people are being removed and replaced with others. This should not be done. If this is being done selectively then this impacts the atmosphere and unity in the party. I am not sure whether this is being done in reality or not, but we have got some reports. We have not taken Captain Sahib’s version. I hope this is not being done in reality.”
Rawat’s reactions on Tuesday came after reports of supporters of Cabinet minister, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, were being removed as chairpersons of certain boards and similar action being taken against the supporters of MLA, Barindermeet Pahda.
The general secretary in-charge also said that it was expected of Sidhu to change his style, “Sidhu sahib should change his style. There should be a difference in style before he was PCC chief and now when he is the state party president.”
Prodded about whether Captain Amarinder will continue to be the CM after the next Assembly polls, he said, “I do not care what the grapevine is saying in Chandigarh. But I have already made it clear that we look up to Captain sahib to ensure that the Congress wins in Punjab in 2022, and we are hopeful that in 2024 also we will get his ‘margdarshan’ (guidance). We expect a big role for him, not only in Punjab, but the entire country.”
He added, “Small things keep on happening in the party. But this bickering should not cross a limit. I am sad that I have to say all this publicly. I do not want to say all this, but it is my responsibility.”
Rawat said he would be coming to Chandigarh next Monday and spend time in PPCC. If any Cabinet rejig was in the offing, then Rawat added, “This is the prerogative of the CM. Our party’s tradition is that we seek approval from the party president. I hope that all this will be sorted amicably.”
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