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Punjab Congress: No consensus on candidates, Sunil Jakhar goes abroad

A Congress leader expressed concern about campaign chief Sunil Jakhar’s absence at a crucial time when the party’s state chief, Navjot Singh Sidhu, continues his tirades against the Punjab CM, apparently angling for the chief minister’s chair.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
Updated: January 6, 2022 2:41:27 pm
Jakhar had hit out at his own party’s government after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally had to be cancelled because of a farmers’ protest on his route. (Express File Photo by Jasbir Malhi)

The Congress’s campaign committee chief in Punjab, Sunil Kumar Jakhar, has left on a foreign trip even as the state is set to go to the polls in a few weeks and the party is not even close to finalising candidates, sources close to the party’s former state president said.

Jakhar left the country after attending a screening committee meeting in Delhi on Wednesday. Sources close to him also said he had chosen to go abroad as the Congress’s central election committee meetings would anyway be held virtually because of the pandemic’s third wave.

However, a Congress leader expressed concern about the campaign chief’s absence at a crucial time when the party’s state chief, Navjot Singh Sidhu, continues his tirades against Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, apparently angling for the chief minister’s chair.

“With the campaign committee chief away, it’s going to be difficult. The chief should be on the ground even if Covid cases are surging. The physical absence of a leader will certainly affect the morale of workers badly,” said a party leader, who likened Jakhar’s absence to “abandoning the party”. “The screening committee meetings also have to take place as there is no consensus on 117 candidates yet. It’ll be a long-drawn task ahead,” the leader added.

Jakhar had hit out at his own party’s government after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally had to be cancelled because of a farmers’ protest on his route. “What has happened today is just not acceptable. It’s against Panjabiyat. A secure passage for the Prime Minister of India to address BJP’s political rally in Ferozpur should have been ensured. That’s how democracy works,” he tweeted on Wednesday.

And two days after the Congress decided not to organise any rallies in the poll-bound states in view of the pandemic, Sidhu is holding a rally in Barnala on Thursday. His media team said that he would be reaching there in a short while and that the gathering would be massive despite the inclement weather.

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