The three-member panel, headed by Mallikarjun Kharge, formed to resolve the infighting in the Punjab Congress is likely to submit its report to party high command on Wednesday.
Sources close to the party told India Today TV that the panel is likely to suggest a replacement of Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar.
The other options with the party high command are either to appoint Navjot Singh Sidhu as Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s deputy or to appoint him as campaign committee chief for 2022 Punjab Assembly polls.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra were in favour of Navjot Singh Sidhu but Captain Amarinder Singh outrightly rejected the suggestion.
Navjot Sidhu had joined Congress in 2017 and many senior Congress leaders who started their career as grassroots workers are in the queue. Speculation is that Navjot Sidhu could be made the deputy chief minister but Captain Amarinder Singh has always been against creating this post.
What remains to be seen is whether the party high command will be able to quell the dissidence and rehabilitate Navjot Sidhu.
Meanwhile, the fight between Captain Amarinder Singh and Navjot Sidhu has now taken a new turn after they appeared before the panel. While Navjot Sidhu had stationed himself in Patiala, Captain’s supporters were seen installing hoardings in the state to back him.
Sources said Captain was not in the favour of Navjot Sidhu when he joined the party in 2017 just before the assembly election. Asserting his proximity to the Gandhis, Navjot Sidhu was towing his own line and did not follow Captain’s instructions when he was heading to Pakistan in 2018.
Navjot Sidhu’s outburst became public in November 2018 when he said, “My captain is Rahul Gandhi, who is also his [Amarinder’s] captain. Wherever I went, it was with his approval.”
Navjot Sidhu was blamed for the party’s poor performance in Punjab’s urban areas during the 2019 Lok Sabha election. Accordingly, Captain Amarinder Singh changed Navjot Sidhu’s portfolio which forced him to resign as a cabinet minister in July 2019.
The party’s high command made efforts to end the differences between the two. Both Captain Amarinder Singh and Navjot Sidhu met twice on November 25, 2020 and then on March 18, 2021. However, the meetings were not fruitful.
Navjot Sidhu has been openly attacking the chief minister on various issues which also evoked protest from cabinet ministers and MLAs, such as Pargat Singh, Jail Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Technical Education Minister Charanjit Singh Channi.
Interestingly, Navjot Sidhu has now shifted his base from Amritsar to Patiala. His missing posters also surfaced as he is rarely seen in Amritsar now.
The dissidence sparked by the demand to change the guards in Punjab Congress and also the state government led by Captain Amarinder Singh has left the Congress high command high and dry.
Congress MLAs and ministers have opened a Pandora’s Box. The Amarinder Singh government’s failures to fulfill poll promises are said to have triggered widespread dissidence among the party ranks.