By Archana Prasad
New Delhi [India], May 29 (ANI): The panel constituted by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to resolve differences among its leaders in Punjab is keen to complete its consultations by the first week of June.
The committee is seeking to resolve differences between Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and his former cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu and to tackle factionalism in the state unit.
The first meeting of three-member panel comprising party general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Rawat and senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and JP Agarwal was held on Saturday. The panel is headed by Kharge.
"The committee will try to complete this consultation with leaders by the first week of June. We will first consult with PCC president and MLAs. We will decide how to proceed with this, when to call them in Delhi, we will start this step very soon," Rawat said.
"This is not a crisis but a clash among family members. We will together prepare a roadmap for 2022 assembly elections. The row that emerged within the party members, we would try to sort out as soon as possible. We will consult Pradesh Congress Committee president, MLAs, MPs and will speak to Captain and Sidhu if needed," Rawat said.
Punjab will go to the polls next year and is among the few states in the country ruled by the Congress.
Rawat also said the party will also speak to candidates who had lost in the last state assembly elections if needed.
"We will try to consult all of them. If needed, we will speak to candidates who lost in the previous election. We will first consult PCC president and MLAs. We will decide how to proceed with this when to call them, we will start with this process very soon," Rawat said.
"If needed we will go to Punjab, but for now we have decided to call our leaders in Delhi. We try to complete this consultation by first week of June," he added.
Sources said Punjab MLAs are slated to visit Delhi to meet the committee members on Monday.
Asked about Sidhu's tweet against the chief minister, Rawat said, "He is criticising the central government over management of COVID-19 and farmers support. It's like a fight between brothers."
Sidhu had on May 21 targeted the Punjab Chief Minister over the 2015 sacrilegious incidents involving Guru Grath Sahib and the killing of two people in police firing.
"To know what is right and not to do it is the worst cowardice," he had tweeted.
On April 27, Amarinder Singh had challenged Sidhu to contest polls against him from Patiala.
He had said that indiscipline would not be tolerated in the party at any cost and that if Sidhu wants to contest against him then he is free to do so but that would only lead to Sidhu meeting the fate of General JJ Singh who lost his security deposit in the election.
The Chief Minister had also asked Sidhu to clearly spell out whether he is a member of the Congress party or not.
Responding to Amarinder Singh's remarks, Sidhu had said that he was only "fighting for justice".
"Efforts to derail Punjab's conscience will fail ... my soul is Punjab, and Punjab's soul is Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Our fight is for justice and punishing the guilty. An assembly seat is not even worth discussion in the same breath!" Sidhu had said in a tweet. (ANI)