February 19, 2021 4:23:15 am
A FEW days after Navjot Singh Sidhu met AICC interim president Sonia Gandhi and later party general secretary incharge Harish Rawat met Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh over the issue of giving the former minister a role in the party, the Punjab Congress launched “Captain for 2022” mission, in an apparent move to convey a message to the rank and file.
The party took an opportunity to announce it on the day of municipal election results on Wednesday, when the Congress swept the polls, and none other than the PPCC president Sunil Jakhar was chosen to announce it. The announcement came amid reports that the party high command wanted to name Sidhu as the PPCC chief ahead of Assembly election in 2022.
Both Rawat and CM were in a huddle at the latter’s residence last Friday after the party incharge flew down to Chandigarh. Rawat, it is learnt, was here to convey party high command’s decision to name Sidhu as the PPCC chief. The chief minister, it is learnt, was reluctant as he has already made it known that Sidhu could not be the PPCC chief as there were many other dyed-in-wool-Congressmen, who deserved to get this post. Before Rawat-CM meeting, Sidhu had met Sonia Gandhi and KC Venugopal.
The announcement of mission ‘Captain for 2022’ is being seen as a loud and clear message to the rank and file in Punjab that Amarinder is in command and he would lead party’s show in 2022 also. With the message, all eyes are now on the future of Sidhu in the party. Sidhu stayed away from party campaign for local body elections. This despite the fact that has been meeting farmers amid their ongoing agitation against the agri laws and has also remained active on social media .
Son after Jakhar, who was earlier seen to be cross with Amarinder a couple of months ago, credited him with party’s win and said him the “only Captain could steer the ship of Punjab amid turbulent waters”, party MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, who was also vociferous against Amarinder, tweeted and credited the CM for the poll success.
On Thursday, Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa issued a statement saying that “ Captain Amarinder Singh has emerged as the real Captain and undisputed leader of the state leading Congress party from the front and steering it to the victory in every electoral battle since 2017 thus stamping his class on every mission he has chosen to focus on.”
Randhawa added that “Amarinder would also be the face of the party in 2022 Assembly elections owing to his qualities of head and heart.”
He said that a leader is known by the qualities of inspiring leadership and galvanizing the common workers to put heart and soul into every task and Amarinder has amply demonstrated this quality which is clear from a string of electoral victories under his leadership.
“Party’s thumping success in the Municipal Corporation and Municipal Council elections is yet another proof, if any is needed, of Captain Amarinder Singh’s growing stature as a visionary leader,” he said, adding that the CM also led the party to victory in four out of five by-elections to the Vidhan Sabha besides leading the party to win in by-election to the Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency in 2017.
Interestingly, Amarinder had earlier said that 2017 election would be his last and he would hang his boots. Now, the CM has made it clear that he would not only run for the 2022 elections but lead the party’s campaign. With high command not in command anymore, it remains to be seen as to what would be the future of Sidhu.
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