Channi meets Sidhu, crisis appears to have blown over

Channi meets Sidhu, crisis appears to have blown over in Punjab Congress

A party-government coordination panel will be formed while Sidhu will also withdraw his resignation

File Photo of Chief Minister of Punjab Charanjit Singh Channi with Navjot Singh Sidhu. Credit: PTI Photo

The crisis in Punjab Congress appeared to have blown over on Thursday with Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi meeting sulking Navjot Singh Sidhu and agreeing to some of his key demands.

A party-government coordination panel will be formed while Sidhu, who quit as Punjab Congress president on Tuesday in protest against some Cabinet inclusion and appointments of Director General of Police and Advocate General, will also withdraw his resignation. Channi has called a meeting of the Cabinet on Monday to discuss some of the issues on which both leaders reached a compromise.

The nearly two-hour-long meeting came on a day former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh announced that he is leaving the party, which had divested him of the top post in the state earlier this month on Sidhu's insistence.

The former cricketer-turned-politician drove from Patiala to Chandigarh for the meeting with Channi at Punjab House, a day after the Chief Minister, who was tasked by the party central leadership to sort out the issue, invited Sidhu for a meeting to resolve the crisis but with a remark that party is supreme.

Sidhu had earlier objected to the appointment of APS Deol as Advocate General and giving additional charge of Director General of Police to Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota. He was also upset with some of the choices in Channi's Cabinet.

Just before the meeting, Sidhu tweeted, "DGP IPS Sahota was head of SIT investigating Beadbi case under Badal Govt, he wrongfully indicted two Sikh youth for sacrilege and gave clean chit to Badals. In 2018, I along with INC Ministers, then PCC Pres & present Home Minister assured them of our support in fight for Justice."

Also read: Navjot Singh Sidhu targets DGP over desecration case, meets CM Channi

However, senior Congress leader Sunil Jakhar targeted Sidhu saying "enough is enough" and asked the party leadership to "put an end to attempts to undermine the authority" of the Chief Minister time and again.

"Aspersions being cast on selection of Advocate General and DGP is actually questioning the integrity/competence of Chief Minister and Home Minister to deliver results. It is time to put the foot down and clear the air," he tweeted.

Channi has been given a free-hand by the party central leadership and this appeared to have not gone down well with Sidhu, who took the offer for compromise as he was running out of options. The Chief Minister has also been asked to take all leaders along.

The party central leadership sent a clear message that it would not tolerate Sidhu's tantrums for long and on Wednesday, it indicated that it was ready to even appoint a new president for the state in his place. The names of Kuldeep Nagra and Ravneet Bittu were floated as possible replacements. 

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