What's next in Punjab Congress saga?
Congress leadership in Delhi has reportedly asked chief minister Amarinder Singh to resign and pave way for election of a new leader in poll-bound Punjab.
Sources said that Congress' interim president Sonia Gandhi spoke with the chief minister hours before a meeting of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) scheduled in the evening on September 18.
The chief minister, sources said, has been asked to step down from the post gracefully. There is no official word on this, yet.
"They (the high command) are trying to install a Hindu leader as the CM after installing a Jat Sikh (Navjot Singh Sidhu) as Punjab Congress president," a leader was quoted as saying in a report in The Hindu.
Amarinder Singh has refused the offer and informed the party chief that he would, instead, resign from the party. He has reportedly called a meeting of Congress legislators at 2 pm ahead of CLP.
Former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar is among the names being considered for the top post, according to the sources.
Jakhar, interestingly, said in a tweet that the “bold” leadership decision to resolve Punjab Congress imbroglio has not only enthralled congress workers but has “sent shudders down the spines of Akalis.”
When asked about reports that Amarinder Singh’s replacement, Pargat Singh, general secretary Punjab told news agency ANI that everything will be discussed at the CLP meeting . Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni is also doing rounds as Singh’s replacement.
The drama unfolded a day after Congress, in a late night announcement, called a meeting of its Punjab MLAs on September 18 after a string of appointments failed to quell infighting in the party’s state unit ahead of next year’s assembly election.
Also read: Congress crisis: Punjab CM Amarinder Singh opposes leadership change, says Gandhis are 'right fit for leadership'
The CLP meeting, seen as yet another attempt to put pressure on the party leadership to change the chief minister ahead of the assembly elections, comes days after about 40 party MLAs wrote to the central leadership, complaining about Amarinder Singh.
The MLAs alleged that the chief minister had done nothing to fulfil the 18-point programme issued by the party high command.
Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has been the most vocal critic of the chief minister, was named the state party chief in July
but he continues to queer the pitch, fancying his chances to emerge as the CM candidate.