18 Jul 2021: Sonia Gandhi names Navjot Singh Sidhu Punjab Congress chief
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu was on Sunday appointed the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee President after days of high drama. The decision was reportedly made to assuage Sidhu's concerns and end infighting within the party: between followers of Sidhu and those loyal to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. However, several party leaders have opined that Sidhu's elevation will only worsen the infighting.
Details: Sidhu appointed Punjab Congress chief with immediate effect
All India Congress Committee General Secretary KC Venugopal said in a press release on Sunday evening, "Hon'ble Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) has appointed Shri Navjot Singh Sidhu as the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) with immediate effect." "The party appreciates the contributions of outgoing (Punjab) PCC President, Shri Sunil Jakhar," the statement further said.
Working Presidents: Congress names 4 working chiefs
The statement named four working Presidents of the Punjab PCC—Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Pawan Goel, and Kujit Singh Nagra. Nagra is being relieved from his present responsibility of AICC in-charge of Sikkim, Nagaland, and Tripura, the statement said. Danny, a Dalit Sikh, is Rahul Gandhi's choice. Gilzian belongs to the OBC community, Nagra is a Jat Sikh, while Goel is a Hindu.
Context: Sidhu, Singh locked in power tussle for long
The rivalry between Amarinder Singh and Sidhu has been festering since the 2017 Punjab elections. Sidhu—a key figure—has been demanding an important role, asking for the post of Punjab Congress chief or Deputy Chief Minister. He has also been hinting at the possibility of leaving the party to join the rival Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which would be a huge loss to Congress.
Resolution: Sidhu's promotion to prove counter-productive?
The Congress party now appears to have given in to Sidhu's demands for a promotion. Earlier, it was reported that Singh's followers had threatened a mass resignation against Sidhu's elevation. Singh's camp was worried that the development would lead to the creation of two power centers in the state, which has historically proven to be detrimental to Congress-led governments (e.g., Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan).
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Also see: Punjab Congress MPs to meet top leaders opposing Sidhu's elevation
Sidhu meets Sonia Gandhi amid Punjab Congress chief suspense
Sidhu to be next Punjab Congress chief? Decision sparks row
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