Senior Congress leader Ambika Soni has rejected the offer to become the next chief minister of Punjab a day after Captain Amarinder Singh submitted his resignation to the governor, said sources. Ms Soni refused the offer at the late-night party meeting with her party colleague Rahul Gandhi, sources said. 

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Sources said that talks were held to pacify Amarinder Singh. Ambika Soni comes from Punjab and has a good relation with Soni Gandhi, therefore, her name was being suggested for the next CM of the state, however, she has refused the offer. 

Making it clear, Ms Soni at the meeting said that not making a Sikh the chief minister of Punjab will have "ramifications". 

Three Political observers of Punjab are holding meetings with every MLA to take their opinions on the matter and they would get back to the party high command with the report. Later, on the report, a decision on who would be the next chief minister will be taken. 

Several party members are disappointed at the way the matter has been handled, sources said. 

Captain’s resignation comes when the state will go for assembly polls in a few months and the new Chief Minister will have to look at all grounds once the leader takes charge of the post. 

"A meeting of MLAs was held with Harish Rawat and Ajay Maken yesterday. A resolution was passed that Sonia Gandhi's decision will be final on this matter. Today, you will get to know her decision," Punjab Congress working president Pawan Goel said. 

Meanwhile, Former Punjab party President Sunil Jakhar is the leading name for the post of Punjab Chief Minister. Besides, Jakhar party state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Congress MP Partap Singh Bajwa are possible names running in the race for the post. 

Sources said that the party wants to put forth a non-Sikh face ahead of the elections to counter AAP which is gaining strong ground in the state. 

However, Amarinder Singh has said he will not accept  Navjot Sidhu as his successor and has left the decision open for the party. 

"Navjot Singh Sidhu is an incompetent man. He was a total disaster in my government. He couldn't run one ministry I gave him. He did not clear files for seven months," the former Punjab Chief Minister told NDTV in an interview with NDTV on Saturday.

The Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting called to select the next chief minister of Punjab after Amarinder Singh resigned amid the internal fight in the party on Saturday afternoon, had ended with legislators passing a resolution empowering party interim president Sonia Gandhi to take a decision and pick the next leader for the state. 

About 78 leaders out of 80 MLAs, excluding Amarinder Singh and another member, had authorised Sonia Gandhi to choose the new CLP leader, Harish Rawat, the party's state in-charge told the media. 

"Two resolutions -- one praising Amarinder Singh's contributions towards Punjab and another authorising President Sonia Gandhi to select the new CLP leader -- were unanimously passed," he said.

Ajay Maken and Harish Chowdhry have been delegated as the central observers for the CLP meeting along with Rawat by the Congress high command. 




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