Rahul Gandhi steps in to tame Punjab fire

Rahul Gandhi steps in to tame Punjab fire

Gandhi’s intervention came a day ahead of Amarinder Singh’s meeting with the three-member panel chaired by Mallikarjun Kharge

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Credit: PTI File Photo

As a factional feud raged in the Punjab Congress, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday stepped in to seek an update from the three-member panel set up to iron out differences ahead of the Assembly elections early next year.

Gandhi’s intervention came a day ahead of Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s meeting with the three-member panel chaired by senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge, which has been interacting with party leaders from the frontier state since Monday.

Before meeting the Kharge panel, Singh, who reached the national capital on Thursday afternoon, held deliberations with Congress MPs from Punjab here.

A section of the Congress led by Navjot Singh Sidhu have opened a front against the chief minister over his style of functioning and handling of the sacrilege issue related to the alleged desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib and the police firing on protestors in 2015.

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The Kharge panel, which has AICC General Secretary in-charge of Punjab Harish Rawat and senior leader J P Agarwal as members, is scheduled to meet the chief minister on Friday morning.

The panel held talks with party MLAs, MPs and senior leaders including Ambika Soni, to seek their views about the party affairs in the state.

“We are trying to narrow down the differences and contest the 2022 elections as a united force,” Rawat told reporters here.

Meanwhile, the AICC set in motion the reshuffle of the organisation by appointing Urdu poet Imran Pratapgarhi as the Chairman of the AICC Minority Department. Pratapgarhi, who unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections of 2019 from Uttar Pradesh, succeeds Nadeem Javed.

Besides, Congress President Sonia Gandhi also appointed four AICC Secretaries – Saptagiri Ulaka, Dipika Pandey-Singh, Imran Masood and Brijlal Khabri with directive to assist AICC incharges in Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Delhi and Bihar respectively.

AICC Secretary Sanjay Dutt has been tasked with assisting Rajiv Shukla who is incharge of Himachal Pradesh. Earlier, Dutt was in-charge of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.