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‘Replace Captain’ vs ‘Sack Navjot Sidhu Aides’Congress Crisis Snowballs

Posted in Featured, S. Asia

Published on August 24, 2021 with No Comments

This is the second time the state leaders have upped pitch on the Chief Minister’s removal after weeks of firefighting by the party high command weeks ago.

The demand for the removal of Amarinder Singh from the post of the Punjab Chief Minister has resurfaced after he targeted the advisors of Navjot Sidhu over their comments on Pakistan and Kashmir. Twenty-three MLAs of the Punjab Congress, including four ministers seek Mr Singh’s removal, saying they will appeal to the party’s top leadership again.

The MLAs including cabinet ministers Tript Rajinder Bajwa, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Charanjit Singh Channi, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and state Congress general secretary Pargat Singh — known to be close to Navjot Sidhu — attended a meeting on the issue today.

“Captain should be replaced else the Congress won’t survive… we will meet Sonia Gandhi over the issue,” said cabinet minister Tript Bajwa.

“When MLAs were called to meet the three-member panel in Delhi, here in Punjab, Sukhbir Badal was called for a probe into the sacrilege (of Guru Granth Sahib). But we feel all the poll promises will not be fulfilled, hence we will meet the central leadership,” said cabinet minister Charanjit Singh Channi.

Amarinder Singh’s loyalists — five state Punjab ministers and one MLA — have, meanwhile, demanded action against the aides of Mr Sidhu who has set off the controversy.

This is the second time the state leaders have upped pitch on the Chief Minister’s removal after weeks of firefighting by the party high command.

While they made it clear that Mr Singh will not be removed in view of next year’s assembly elections, the compromise formula also involved the elevation of Navjot Sidhu — the main challenger of the Chief Minister —  as the head of the party’s state unit.

It had only led to a terse ceasefire between the two sides, broken occasionally by critical Twitter posts by Mr Sidhu.

Last week, Mr Sidhu’s advisors Pyare Lal Garg and Malwinder Mali, made headlines with their comments on Pakistan and Kashmir.

In Facebook posts, Mr Mali suggested that both India and Pakistan were illegal occupants in Kashmir. “Going against the tenets of the UNO resolutions, India and Pakistan have illegally usurped Kashmir. If Kashmir was a part of India, then what was the need to have Articles 370 and 35-A?,” he wrote.

In another post, he wrote on the Taliban: “Now it is their responsibility to protect Sikhs and Hindus. They will rule to improve the condition of the country, not like before.”

Amarinder Singh’s loyalists have demanded action against Navjot Sidhu’s aides (File)15

The demand for the removal of Amarinder Singh from the post of the Punjab Chief Minister has resurfaced after he targeted the advisors of Navjot Sidhu over their comments on Pakistan and Kashmir. Twenty-three MLAs of the Punjab Congress, including four ministers seek Mr Singh’s removal, saying they will appeal to the party’s top leadership again.

The MLAs including cabinet ministers Tript Rajinder Bajwa, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Charanjit Singh Channi, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and state Congress general secretary Pargat Singh — known to be close to Navjot Sidhu — attended a meeting on the issue today.

“Captain should be replaced else the Congress won’t survive… we will meet Sonia Gandhi over the issue,” said cabinet minister Tript Bajwa.

“When MLAs were called to meet the three-member panel in Delhi, here in Punjab, Sukhbir Badal was called for a probe into the sacrilege (of Guru Granth Sahib). But we feel all the poll promises will not be fulfilled, hence we will meet the central leadership,” said cabinet minister Charanjit Singh Channi.

Amarinder Singh’s loyalists — five state Punjab ministers and one MLA — have, meanwhile, demanded action against the aides of Mr Sidhu who has set off the controversy.

This is the second time the state leaders have upped pitch on the Chief Minister’s removal after weeks of firefighting by the party high command.

While they made it clear that Mr Singh will not be removed in view of next year’s assembly elections, the compromise formula also involved the elevation of Navjot Sidhu — the main challenger of the Chief Minister —  as the head of the party’s state unit.

It had only led to a terse ceasefire between the two sides, broken occasionally by critical Twitter posts by Mr Sidhu.

Last week, Mr Sidhu’s advisors Pyare Lal Garg and Malwinder Mali, made headlines with their comments on Pakistan and Kashmir.

In Facebook posts, Mr Mali suggested that both India and Pakistan were illegal occupants in Kashmir. “Going against the tenets of the UNO resolutions, India and Pakistan have illegally usurped Kashmir. If Kashmir was a part of India, then what was the need to have Articles 370 and 35-A?,” he wrote.

In another post, he wrote on the Taliban: “Now it is their responsibility to protect Sikhs and Hindus. They will rule to improve the condition of the country, not like before.”

Livid over the comments, which he dubbed atrocious and ill-conceived” Mr Singh had urged Mr Sidhu to rein in his advisors before they end up “doing more damage to India’s interests”.

“Stick to giving advice to Punjab Congress¬† president and don’t speak on sensitive national issues of which you have little or no knowledge, with no idea of their implications,” the Chief Minister had tweeted.

 

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