Cong panel on Punjab meets MLAs, state party chief

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New Delhi, May 31 (PTI) The committee, constituted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to resolve factionalism within the party's Punjab unit, on Monday met around 25 leaders, including state chief Sunil Jakhar, ministers and legislators, sources said.

The panel, chaired by Mallikarjun Kharge, has been tasked with addressing differences between Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Sidhu, who represents Amritsar East in the Punjab assembly, has been attacking his party's government in the state for failing to take action against those involved in the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in 2015 and subsequent firing incidents in Kotkapura in Faridkot.

The panel has former MP JP Agarwal and All India Congress Committee general secretary Harish Rawat as its members.

After the meeting on Monday, Punjab Congress president Jakhar said the panel is working to strengthen the state unit and the Punjab government so that the party can return to power in 2022.

'On the sacrilege issue let me say every culprit will be booked and brought to justice. Those who are rejoicing today that they have got a clean chit must beware of the fact that the SIT (special investigation team) is still probing the issue,' Jakhar said.

He also said that certain state leaders who attacked the chief minister after the hooch tragedy in Patiala a while ago are silent on the raids over illicit liquor dens found in the 'backyard' of the Badals – of the opposition Shiromani Akali Dal.

'Such leaders stand exposed and the committee will hopefully take note of this,' said Jakhar.

The committee also met state ministers Brahm Mohindra, Tript Rajinder Bajwa, OP Soni, apart from several MLAs.

Sidhu is expected to meet the panel on Tuesday. The committee’s members will then speak to MPs, ex-state chiefs and top leaders and finally give a final report to Sonia Gandhi. PTI SKC ANB ANB

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