Punjab Congress crisis: Amarinder Singh says meeting with panel was pre-poll discussion

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Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh (Photo/ANI)
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh (Photo/ANI)

New Delhi [India], June 4 (ANI): Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh who on Friday appeared before a three-member panel tasked by Congress president Sonia Gandhi, said the meeting was part of party's internal discussions ahead of state assembly polls.

"These are party discussions, Assembly elections will be held in six months," the Punjab Chief Minister after the meeting held in the national capital.

However, according to party sources, the agenda of the meeting was to resolve the widening differences between its leaders - Captain Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu.

"In the three-hour-long meeting, Captain Amarinder Singh discussed every issue with the party representatives. He brought along documents and proofs about every MLA and of party leaders of places where ere there is no Congress MLA, and what work has been done on whose request. Punjab CM has put forth answers to all the grievances of party leaders against him. Now the panel is compiling a report which will be submitted to Congress president soon," sources said.

They further informed that Captain Amarinder Singh who is staying at Kapurthala house here met with party MPs there.

Earlier on Monday, the panel had held its first meeting with 25 MLAs from Punjab at the Congress 'war room' at 15, Gurdwara Rakabganj road in the national capital.

The AICC secretary general in charge of Punjab, one of the panel's three members told ANI that today's meeting was the last in a series of meetings convened to resolve differences within the Punjab unit of the Congress party.

"Today is the last meeting. Our president is going out for some two to three days and we will submit the report soon," Congress leader and panel member Harish Rawat had told ANI earlier today.

Along with Rawat, Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge and JP Aggarwal constitute the three-member panel, which has ove the last two days met 50 Punjab MLAs in the city.

According to sources the agenda of the meeting was to resolve the widening differences between its leaders - Captain Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu.

Sidhu who had appeared before the panel on Tuesday said that he has conveyed the truth of Punjab to the high command in a "loud voice".

Speaking to media personnel, Sidhu had said, "I have come at the call of the high command... I have conveyed the voice of the people of Punjab. My stand was, is, and will be the same. The democratic power of the people of Punjab, the power of tax should go back to those people. I have come by publishing the truth. Truth is tortured, not defeated."

Apart from Sidhu, on Tuesday, one of the big names from the state unit, MLA Pargat Singh who spoke in front of the panel said several MLAs had complained about chief minister Amarinder Singh before the panel.

Sidhu is the tallest name among the leaders who raised their voice against the chief minister and from a distance it appears to be a face-off between Amarinder and Sidhu. He had been targeting the chief minister on the sacrilege incidents involving Guru Granth Sahib and the police firing in 2015 in Kotkapura in Faridkot.

The Congress party had before the 2017 elections assured of taking action against the culprits in these incidents.

Congress leaders feel that if concrete action is not taken in this matter, then the party is set to suffer a huge loss in the next year's Assembly elections.

Opponents of the Punjab Chief Minister, who also holds charge of the state's home ministry accuse him of being close to Sukhbir Singh Badal due to which he has not taken any action against the taking any action against the president of the Shiromani Akali Dal, and the state's chief minister during the time of the sacrilege incidents.

Meanwhile, in a major development on Thursday, Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh before leaving for Delhi welcomed Aam Admi Party MLAs Sukhpal Khaira, Jagdev Singh Kamalu and Pirmal Singh Dhaula into Congress. (ANI)