Befitting reply if Cong doesn't allow freedom: Sidhu

Sidhu says will give 'befitting reply' if Congress doesn't allow him to take decisions

The Congress, however, said state chiefs are free to take their decisions within the party's norms and constitution

Sidhu had said earlier that the party high command should give him the freedom to take decisions and he will ensure that the Congress remains in power in Punjab for the next 20 years. He said he has prepared a roadmap in this regard.Credit: PTI File Photo

The rumblings in Punjab Congress was louder on Friday with state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu daring his party's central leadership to face "befitting reply" if he is not given the freedom to take decisions, as his controversial adviser Malvinder Singh Mali was made to step down following his comments on Kashmir.

Congress General Secretary and Punjab-in-charge, Harish Rawat, was, however, quick to rebuff the remarks saying state chiefs are free to take their decisions within the party's norms and constitution and argued that "if they will not take decisions, who else will?"

Sidhu said the party high command should give him the freedom to take decisions and he will ensure that the Congress remains in power in Punjab for the next 20 years, for which he has prepared a roadmap. "The party high command should allow me the freedom to take decisions, else I will give a befitting reply," he said.

Read | Navjot Singh Sidhu's adviser quits amidst row over his remarks

His outburst during a public meeting in Amritsar came as Mali said he "withdrew his consent" to advise the cricketer-turned-politician on Friday after a stern warning from Rawat to sack the controversial adviser and his bete-noire Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ensured a show of strength by meeting at least 55 party MLAs and eight MPs over dinner on Thursday.

Sidhu, who was recently appointed as Punjab Congress president, and Singh are locked in an intense internal fight for control ahead of Assembly polls early next year. Recently, Rawat told Singh's detractors that Congress would face the polls under his leadership.

Mali, who was appointed by Sidhu, had run into trouble following his comments about Kashmir when he suggested "Kashmir is a country of Kashmiri people". Sidhu's other adviser Pyare Lal Garg also ran into controversy with his comments on Pakistan.

Also Read | Punjab CM warns Sidhu's advisers against assertions that do 'more damage to India's interests'

This had led Rawat to say that Congress had nothing to do with Sidhu’s advisers and that the remarks on Kashmir were acceptable to Congress. "I have told Sidhu to remove his advisers. The party cannot accept such people who make irresponsible remarks that hurt the feelings of people," Rawat said earlier.

On Friday, Mali said he cannot continue in the present circumstances and alleged that if some harm comes to him, Amarinder Singh, Punjab’s cabinet minister Vijender Singh, Congress MP Manish Tewari, former deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, former cabinet minister Bikramjit Singh Majithia and BJP’s Subhash Sharma, AAP's Raghav Chadha and Jarnail Singh will be responsible.

He said he was withdrawing his consent for tendering suggestions to Sidhu as he is pushed into the "struggle with tied hands, which is not acceptable".

He claimed anti-Sikh forces that cannot tolerate the emerging Punjab model, issue-based and solution-based politics, have a "nefarious design to derail" the dialogue process that has started taking shape.

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