Sidhu’s verbal attack on Punjab govt makes Congress workers, leaders anxious

Party insiders feel that Sidhu has sharpened his attacks as a ‘pressure’ tactic aimed at announcement of chief minister candidate before elections

As Assembly elections in Punjab draw closer, the Congress government is facing verbal attacks by its own State president Navjot Singh Sidhu and this seems to have left the party workers and leaders in a state of anxiousness.

While Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi continues to establish himself as an assertive leader, Mr. Sidhu has been relentlessly bashing the government on various issues, mainly those surrounding the ‘non-delivery of justice’ in the 2015 sacrilege incidents and the drugs menace.

Also Read: Sacrilege: Congress cautious on Sidhu’s endorsement of ‘public hanging’ of culprits

Also, as Mr. Sidhu continues to rake of issues surrounding Sikhs in an attempt to woo the Sikh (panthic) votes, there’s an increasing feeling in the political and party circles that ‘overfocusing’ on Sikh issues may result in the party losing substantial support of the Hindu vote bank in coming elections.

Party insiders feel that after it indicated that the coming polls will be fought under ‘collective leadership’, Mr. Sidhu has sharpened his attack on the government as a ‘pressure’ tactic aimed at the announcement of chief minister candidate before the elections – this, however, has left the party cadre anxious and confused. A party worker, who didn’t wish to be quoted said that if the chief of party would continue to rant publicly against his own government, then how will a party worker take a stand for his government’s work on the ground and fight the Opposition parties. Notably, irked over Mr. Sidhu’s repeated attacks on the government, national coordinator of All India Congress Committee and spokesperson of Punjab Congress Pritpal Singh Baliawal recently quit the party, expressing his inability “to defend the nonsense, anti party-anti-government remarks.” of Mr. Sidhu.

Also Read: Punjab Ministers meet Congress Central leader

As the chaos in the party refuses to show any sign of settling down, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Food, Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Technical Education Minister Rana Gurjit Singh have publicly aired their differences over the “utterances” of Mr. Sidhu against the government. Sources said that a section of party leaders were pressing for the removal of Mr. Sidhu from his post before it was “too late” in the run-up to Assembly polls.

Amarinder resignation

With polls a few months away, the Congress has been struggling to set its house in order in Punjab even after the Congress ‘high command’ cornered Captain Amarinder Singh (retd.) into resigning from the post of Chief Minister amid his power tussle with Mr. Sidhu.

Former State Congress chief and party’s chairman of the 2022 Assembly election campaign committee Sunil Jakhar said there was no doubt that repeated anti-government statements on public platforms would lower the morale of the party members – be it workers or leaders. “All the senior leaders should keep it in mind. In fact, Mr. Sidhu has been announcing a ‘Punjab model’ in his speeches. I would suggest to him that before going and convincing the public with benefits of his model, he should first convince the party first and get it adopted by the party, and not just go ahead with it as an ‘individual’s’ model,” Mr. Jakhar told The Hindu.

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