Punjab power tussle: Four rebel ministers to meet Harish Rawat in Dehradun


CHANDIGARH: Amid the ongoing tussle in ruling Congress’ Punjab unit, the party affairs’ state in-charge Harish Rawat on Thursday admitted that there were still some issues which are being resolved.

When reporters asked Rawat if it was safe to assume that “all is well” in Punjab Congress, the AICC general secretary quipped, “I won’t say all is well, but we are heading in the direction where things will improve. I don’t want to hide that some questions are still being resolved.”

Rawat had on Wednesday conveyed the “resentment” of party’s dissenting leaders to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and said it is his “duty” to address them.

Rawat had met the chief minister at his residence at Siswan in Mohali and held a discussion on various issues including an 18-point programme given by the party high command.

Replying to a question, Rawat said on Thursday the issue of cabinet reshuffle was neither raised nor discussed in the meeting with the chief minister.

The meeting came a day after Rawat called on Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu who was learnt to have conveyed his “displeasure” on unfulfilled promises of the Amarinder Singh-led government.

Rawat had arrived in Chandigarh on Tuesday amid the ongoing power struggle between the camps of Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu.

However, the senior Congress leader asserted that both the leaders know that they have to work together as “it is in their interest”.

“More damage (due to ongoing tussle) will be caused to those who are in powerful positions,” he added.

Rawat’s visit comes days after the party’s state unit plunged into another crisis after four ministers, belonging to the Sidhu camp, and a dozen party leaders raised a banner of revolt against the chief minister over the issue of unfulfilled poll promises including a delay in justice in desecration of a religious text in 2015, arrest of “big fish” involved in drug rackets and scrapping power purchase agreements.

Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Charanjit Singh Channi and three party legislators, who wanted Amarinder Singh to be replaced, had gone to Dehradun to meet Rawat on August 25.

To a question on why the four minister did not meet him, Rawat said, “Had they come, they would have been welcomed. But the fact that they did not come, I thank them for this, otherwise you (media) would have connected my visit to what they said”.