Strewn with ‘Avoidable’ Challenges Before Polls, Cong Sends ‘Firefighter’ Observer to Douse Punjab Blaze
With Navjot Singh Sidhu adamant on not withdrawing his resignation, the Congress high command has gone into a firefighting mode with the arrival of AICC observer Harish Chaudhary in Chandigarh.
Though the Punjab Congress was tight-lipped over the schedule of the observer, reliable sources said that Chaudhary arrived in the city in the early hours of Wednesday and was likely to meet Sidhu at his Patiala residence. He is also scheduled to meet Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and other party leaders to access the situation.
As has been the case with cabinet formation and key government appointments, the central leadership is actively involved in trying to find a way out of the crisis precipitated by Sidhu’s resignation. Sources said that since Tuesday night, senior leaders from the Congress high command have been in touch with the state leadership over the issue.
It is learnt that senior party leader Amrinder Singh Raja Warring had been asked by the party high command to meet Sidhu and convince him to withdraw his resignation but so far the PCC chief has been adamant.
About half a dozen MLAs and senior party leaders have been camping at Sidhu’s parental house in Patiala since late Tuesday evening, holding several rounds of meetings.
Sources said that some of close aides, including Pargat Singh, were trying to reason out the ‘futility’ of such a step and also how it had gripped his loyalist with uncertainty. Sources said that some leaders had even told Sidhu that his resignation could fuel further dissensions in Malwa, Doaba and Majha regions. With just some months left for elections, the crisis was avoidable, the leaders apparently told Sidhu.