January 20, 2022 4:46:14 am
EVEN as the Congress continues to insist that it would not declare a CM candidate and that Punjab polls would be fought under collective leadership, a clamour for announcing the CM face is getting louder within the party.
While Cabinet ministers, including Rana Gurjit Singh and Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, and Shahkot MLA Hardev Singh Laddi Sherowalia have already demanded that the party declare Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi as its CM face, another Cabinet minister Brahm Mohindra has now joined them in seeking that Channi be declared the CM candidate.
The demand came hours after AICC incharge Harish Chaudhary reiterated that the elections would be contested under collective leadership. Party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala told the reporters in Chandigarh on Wednesday, “Sidhu ji Punjab Congress ke sardar hain, Channi ji government ke sardar hain and we will contest elections under collective leadership.”
Mohindra, meanwhile, said, “The party high command should clear doubts about the Chief Ministerial candidate in Punjab. There should not be any confusion in the party about announcing the CM candidate when there is already one who proved himself beyond everybody’s expectations.”
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He added that he was referring to Channi’s “outstanding performance in three months”.
Mohindra pointed out, “It is the Congress party that had set the tradition of declaring the Chief Ministerial candidate ahead of elections in 2012 and 2017. It should continue with that tradition and announce the candidate sooner than later.”
The clamour started getting louder after the Congress tweeted a video from its official handle virtually projecting Channi as the CM face.
The party is also under pressure after Aam Aadmi Party’s announcement that MP Bhagwant Mann is its CM candidate.
The ruling party is watching the development closely as the social media is being dominated by Mann ever since AAP’s declaration.
“When media asks me who is my CM candidate, what should I answer? Collective leadership? This does not work,” a party leader told The Indian Express.
Mohindra elaborated, “It has become all the more important when the Aam Aadmi Party has announced Bhagwant Mann as its CM candidate and Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal had already been projecting Sukhbir Singh Badal as its CM candidate.”
“Under such circumstances, Congress party cannot afford to leave any vacuum as it can prove detrimental to party’s interests,” he remarked, adding, “that too when we have a far better choice than others which is tried and tested”.
However, the party is in a fix.
PPCC Chief Navjot Singh Sidhu has been demanding that he should be declared the party’s CM candidate. The party has had to intervene and silence him.
On Wednesday, senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala endorsed Sidhu’s Punjab Model while addressing the media. He said Sidhu’s Punjab Model had shown a way when the party could give MSP to farmers on oil seeds and pulses by making money from sand and liquor. Sidhu and Surjewala addressed a joint presser in which Sidhu once against reiterated his Punjab Model.
Surjewala also took a swipe at the SAD and AAP, saying while the SAD supported the BJP-led NDA government when farm ordinances were brought in 2020, the AAP government in Delhi later notified the central farm laws. “All these three outfits have an anti-farmer DNA,” he said, hitting out at the BJP, SAD and AAP.
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