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Thursday, May 06, 2021

Punjab: Assembly poll results leave Captain’s camp relieved

The Punjab Congress was watching the election results keenly amid a tirade launched by former Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu against Amarinder.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
May 3, 2021 3:20:09 am
COVID 19 Second wave, Punjab Covid Cases, Rise in Covid Cases, Amarinder Singh on Covid, Lockdown in Punjab, punjab covid updates, CM on Oxygen scarcity, Indian Express newsPunjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

The Congress faring poorly in the Assembly elections in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Assam and Puducherry has led to relief in Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s camp.

The Punjab Congress was watching the election results keenly amid a tirade launched by former Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu against Amarinder. His constant public criticism of the CM was fuelling speculation that the party high command may name Sidhu as the PCC chief, despite a strong opposition by the CM, and that they may be waiting for an opportune time.

At the same time, many party MLAs were singing “rebellious” tunes in meetings with the CM.

“But with the Congress party’s discouraging performance, they (the party high command) may not be able to stand up to the CM now. The Gandhis have suffered another setback. They will have to face another storm from within the party. How will they open a front in Punjab? Amarinder has already made it clear that he was opposed to Sidhu to be appointed as PPCC chief with so many dyed-in-wool congressmen eligible for the job,” said a senior party leader.

However, election strategist Prashant Kishor’s announcement on Sunday that he will “quit this space” have led to concerns in the Amarinder camp on whether he would devise a strategy for the CM or not.

Around a month ago, Amarinder had appointed him a principal adviser and had stated that his appointment was pro bono and that would advise the government on fulfilling the promises. Kishor had already held meetings with government officials and MLAs to take a stock of the situation on the ground.

“His (Kishor’s) announcement has come at the wrong time. It was believed that he would be strategising for us. Now, the government is facing a lot of heat on account of High Court quashing SIT investigations into the sacrilege case and subsequent police firing.

“Then Sidhu is hitting at the government every day. Not only Sidhu but most of the party MLAs had also expressed their anger at the Bargari investigation imbroglio. His announcement at this juncture could be seen clubbed with all these developments and create a wrong perception that he was seeking out,” said a Congress leader on condition of anonymity.

With all these developments taking place, it remains to be seen whether Sidhu will get back to the Congress mainstream or not. Sidhu remained quiet on Sunday although he has been targeting Amarinder on Twitter almost every day.

Sources in Sidhu camp, meanwhile, have said that the party high command has already decided to name him the PCC chief and the announcement is just a matter of time.

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