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Congress 'first family' faces intra-party squabbles in Chhattisgarh, Punjab

Nirendra Dev

Nirendra DevAug 28, 2021, 12:00 AM IST

Congress 'first family' faces intra-party squabbles in Chhattisgarh, Punjab

New Delhi: Internal bickering within the Congress remains unabated in two party-ruled states of Punjab and Chhattisgarh. New Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu cautioned AICC general secretary in-charge, Harish Rawat and the Congress high command that he should not be reduced to being only a rubber stamp president.

“Not allowed to take any decision will not be accepted,” said cricket star-turned-politician Sidhu, who has big differences with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh. He even used uncharitable words and phrases such as ‘Ali Baba’ and ‘Eet naal Eet...'. 

The Congress has played out self-inflicted injuries to itself, even in Chhattisgarh. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and his army of over 50 loyalist MLAs were virtually paraded in Delhi in front of the party’s 'most powerful' MP from Kerala, Rahul Gandhi. ‘Acting or interim’ Congress president Sonia Gandhi is maintaining a low profile and a virtual reverse gear and silence while daughter Priyanka Gandhi and her husband Robert are handling Punjab politics and Chhattisgarh is being handled by Rahul. But in both the states, things have been perhaps mishandled.

Sidhu, a turncoat from BJP, is in direct and fierce competition with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in poll-bound Punjab. “Mine is a politics of hope and faith. If I am able to meet the expectations of people, I will ensure the Congress retains power in Punjab for the next 20 years. But if you do not let me make decisions, I will give a befitting reply (Eet naal Eet) There is no point in being a dummy president.” Sidhu said. 

Adding more complexities, AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab, Harish Rawat, has reportedly sought to be relieved of the charge, citing the upcoming Uttarakhand elections. He met Sonia Gandhi on Friday and briefed her on the intra-party issues in Punjab. 

Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Baghel and AICC in-charge P L Puniiya met Rahul Gandhi. Baghel has put up a brave face and said, "I, in the capacity of state Chief Minister, have invited Rahul Gandhi to visit the state. He will visit next week". Priyanka Gandhi also attended the meeting. 

Interestingly, the Congress leadership is reportedly miffed with the Chief Minister for bringing MLAs, including ministers, to New Delhi to demonstrate his support. State Health Minister T S Singh Deo has been mounting pressure on the central leadership to implement the formula of rotational chief ministership, which was agreed upon between Baghel and him in December 2018.
 

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