After Scindia-Pilot saga, Cong trying to placate Punjab leaders
New Delhi: Wiser after the exit of Jyotiraditya Scindia and much-hyped revolt by Sachin Pilot, the Congress is now trying to put its house in order in Punjab and has directed the Congress affairs incharge Harish Rawat to iron out differences between the warring state leaders.
After getting a sulking cricketer turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu on board, Rawat has now shifted his focus to other disgruntled leaders like Rajya Sabha MPs Partap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo.
Both have been critical of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and had even demanded a CBI inquiry into the hooch tragedy that hit the border state several weeks ago. Dullo had raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha too last month.
Both the Congress MPs had met Rawat in Delhi in September and discussed various issues.
Party sources said that Rawat went to Bajwa’s residence in Chandigarh and discussed party issues over lunch on Thursday. Both did not disclose anything about their luncheon meeting.
However, the sources said that Rawat was working out on a formula to arrange for a formal meeting with the Chief Minister to thrash out an amicable solution between the two leaders.
“Had a luncheon meeting with Harish Rawat ji, former CM Uttarakhand, General Secretary Indian National Congress and AICC incharge of Punjab Pradesh Congress, at my residence in Chandigarh. One-on-one discussion covered wide ranging issues regarding political situation of Punjab,” Bajwa had tweeted later on while posting a picture of two having lunch.
Similarly, ahead of Rahul Gandhi’s ‘tractor rallies’ in Punjab, Rawat had gone to the Amritsar residence of former state Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu and accompanied him to Badhani Kalan in Moga on the first day of the rally.
Though Bajwa refused to share details of the two-hour meeting, the sources said Rawat discussed his role in the run-up to the Punjab Assembly elections. Bajwa is one of the contenders for the state President’s post, though Rawat denied any move to replace PCC chief and Amarinder camp follower Sunil Jakhar.
Though party sources claimed that Bajwa and Sidhu were eyeing the PCC chief’s post, which is vehemently opposed by the Chief Minister camp, Rawat has made it clear that there is no move to replace Jakhar who has Amarinder’s backing.
Rawat said: “Sidhu is the Rafael of the party and has a pan-India role while Dullo and Bajwa are the Congress pillars.”
Sources said that efforts to bring all leaders on board were yielded results, pointing out that relations between the Chief Minister and Sidhu had started to mend, as was visible during the Assembly special session.
Bajwa too had attended a lunch hosted by Amarinder during Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the state and also shared the stage with him.