Chandigarh: All is not well within Punjab Congress as former state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar has expressed his grievance openly, saying the party has forgotten him, indirectly pointing to the incapability of the newly appointed state party chief Navjot Singh Sidhu.
Directly questioning the party high command's decision on the appointment of Sidhu as the new Punjab Congress chief, Jakhar said that the person who was trying to patch up the rift between Captain Amarinder Singh and Sidhu was forgotten by the Congress party.
Jakhar further said, "In Congress, it has become a tradition that if someone gets upset, then people go to their home to persuade them. But today, who did you hand over the keys to? Today, you forgot Sunil Jakhar." Rahul Gandhi tried to settle the crisis in Punjab but it seems another simmering tension is brewing which may harm the party's prospects in the 2022 state Assembly elections.
"The route to the national revival of the Congress party goes via Punjab, and the road to Punjab Congress' return to power goes via Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan," added Jakhar referring to the incidents when two youths were killed in the police firing at Behbal Kalan on October 14, 2015, while protesting against the desecration of Guru Granth Sahib at Bargari on October 12. Police had also opened fire on protesters at Kotkapura, leaving many injured, the same day.
Speaking at the Congress ceremony to commemorate the appointment of Sidhu as the new state party chief, Jakhar said, "The whole of Punjab came out in protest against the farm laws. At that time, if there had been any other chief minister, other than Captain Amarinder Singh, then, the protests being held against BJP would have been against us (Punjab government and Congress). He (Amarinder Singh) handled them brilliantly and sent them there (Delhi border)."
Patch up by Sidhu, Captain Amarinder
Despite his refusal to issue an apology, Amarinder met Sidhu hours before his elevation ceremony at Punjab Bhawan in Chandigarh last week. The moment was captured in photos wherein the two leaders - Sidhu and Amarinder - were seen sitting beside each other during a tea ceremony hosted by Amarinder.
Sidhu also greeted Amarinder with folded hands when he had arrived at Punjab Bhawan. However, the meeting didn't go as smooth as it appears. According to sources, Sidhu did not meet Amarinder at first. When Amarinder's cavalcade arrived, Sidhu left the venue alone but came back within 10 minutes. It is reported that Sidhu returned to the venue after he was cajoled by some party members.