May 19, 2021 10:00:41 am
With infighting within the Punjab Congress intensifying, the party high command intervened to prevent further escalation by urging the camp opposed to CM Amarinder Singh to exercise restraint, while assuring that their concerns will be addressed.
The intervention came after Technical Education Minister Charanjeet Singh Channi scheduled a press conference for 11 am Tuesday over revival of a sexual harassment complaint against him. But late on Monday night, Congress general secretary incharge Harish Rawat dialled Channi and three other leaders urging them to exercise restraint in the matter.
The camp opposed to the CM has been miffed over allegedly being hounded by the government.
While Channi had called a press meet to speak over the Punjab Women’s Panel issuing a notice to the state government to look into a complaint against the minister, MLA Pargat Singh had alleged that he had received a threatening call from the CM’s secretary.
After Rawat called Jails Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, party MLA Pargat Singh and Rajya Sabha member Partap Singh Bajwa, apart from Channi, all four met at Channi’s residence Tuesday and decided to give the high-command three days time to act.
According to sources, Rawat has assured all of them that he would be holding a meeting with party MLAs soon to take a feedback on the state of affairs.
Pargat had also addressed the media Monday against the alleged threatening call to him.
“The high command is not pleased at the threatening call made to Pargat Singh. This development has not been taken kindly by the party high command,” a source in Delhi said.
Bajwa said Rawat had called him up and he assured him that the high command will be sorting out the issue within 3-4 days.
“I got a call from him. He has assured that the issue will be sorted,” he said.
While Rawat’s call stopped Channi from addressing the press, it did not prevent miffed Congress leaders from meeting and discussing future course of action.
Earlier during the day, Bajwa also met SAD (Sanyukt) leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa at the latter’s residence. Bajwa said after the meeting, “He is my old friend. I had gone to meet him. He has been my father’s colleague.”
The meeting is significant as Dhindsa has floated a new party SAD (Sanyukt) and there have been reports that he was looking at forming a joint front with several leaders of Punjab.
Later, Channi, Randhawa and Pargat met. Randhawa said, “There was nothing much in the meeting. Just that Rawat had called us all, we decided to sit quiet.”
He condemned threatening call to Pargat once again and also the reopening of case against Channi.
“Why are they acting after three years?” he questioned.
“Threats are not a custom in Congress party. Our fight is only for justice to the victims of police firing. But the attention is being diverted. If they want to open an inquiry against me, they are most welcome. I am ready to go to jail,” he reiterated.
Sidhu, meanwhile, hit out at Amarinder again through his tweet.
He said: “Ministers, MLAs and MPs raising People’s Issues are strengthening the party, fulfilling their democratic duty & exercising their constitutional right… But everyone who speaks the truth becomes your enemy. Thus, you threaten your party colleagues, exhibiting your fear & insecurity.”
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