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Thursday, August 05, 2021

New chief for Punjab PCC, Amarinder will stay CM, says Harish Rawat

The changes would be carried out “within 2-3 days”. Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh will, however, remain in the post, Harish Rawat said.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
Updated: July 13, 2021 4:47:26 am
Harish Rawat

Congress general secretary and Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Rawat said on Monday that the party would soon replace Pradesh Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, and subsequently rejig the Cabinet.

The changes would be carried out “within 2-3 days”. Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh will, however, remain in the post, Rawat said.

“Punjab will get a new PCC chief and a few new faces in the Cabinet of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh,” Rawat told The Indian Express by phone after being discharged from hospital where he was admitted briefly.

“There will be no change in the CM. Nobody demanded any change at that level. People had a few issues. Those will be sorted out. Also, the party has to take many factors into consideration. It has to work out the right role for the right person,” he said.

The Punjab Congress has been wracked by dissension against Amarinder. The crisis has intensified in recent months and, with Assembly elections scheduled for early next year, leaders in the party have been getting restless over the delay in its resolution. There have been reports that Navjot Singh Sidhu could be named the new chief of the party in the state.

“The changes are on the cards within 2-3 days,” Rawat said. “I was confident that everything will be resolved before July 8. That is why I had announced that everything would be sorted out by the end of the first week of July.”

Things were, however, delayed because “other states were also demanding attention of the high command”, Rawat said. “But as the general secretary in-charge, I was getting worried that it was getting delayed. The issues should get resolved soon. Otherwise, what is the general secretary in-charge for?” he said.

Rawat expressed confidence that after the announcements, “everybody” in the Punjab Congress would be happy.

“Don’t you see how Navjot Singh Sidhu has trained his guns in the right direction? The guns are trained at the right persons,” he said, referring to Sidhu’s tweets over the last two days targeting the Badals instead of the Chief Minister.

Rawat said that Amarinder’s statement after his meeting with Sonia Gandhi that he would abide by what the Congress president decides, was “a big deal”.

“It was so magnanimous of Captain Sahib that he did not say anything about Sidhu, and said that he had left everything to the Congress president. It is a huge thing if someone of the stature of Captain Sahib says such words. I was hoping it would have a sobering effect on the Punjab Congress as well…,” Rawat said.

Among the new faces in the Cabinet will be a Valmiki leader, Rawat said. “There will be a reshuffle. A Valmiki will be inducted. There will be no heartburn as everybody wanted Valmikis to get representation in the government,” he said.

Amarinder is learnt to have drawn up a list of new Ministers. There are reports that a few ministers from Majha and Malwa could be dropped, and a first-time MLA, the Vidhan Sabha Speaker, and an MLA belonging to the Backward Classes could be inducted.

Meanwhile a certain group of Ministers are reported to have decided that if anyone among them was dropped, all of them would resign en masse.


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