July 15 was full of high-voltage political drama in the history of Punjab Congress as the day’s ending brought contradictory statements from a prominent leader that put the state unit in chaos.

The day began with Congress General Secretary and Punjab Congress in charge, Harish Rawat statement that “Navjot Sidhu is going to be the new Chief of Punjab Congress.”

The cricketer-turned-politician, who is at loggerheads with Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh since his entry into the state unit in 2017, was likely to replace current Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) President, Sunil Jakhar.

While being near to end the deadlock in the state unit, twist in the plot arose as Congress interim Chief Sonia Gandhi called Mr. Rawat for a high-powered meeting.

While talking to the media reporters after the meeting, Rawat took a u-turn and reiterated “Sidhu’s accommodation as PPCC Chief is not sure.”

“Who said this? I did not state it yet,” Rawat said adding a twist to his earlier statement.

Mr Rawat clarified, “I said that the decision will be taken around what you're saying.”

He further revealed that in the meeting with Sonia Gandhi, future logistics of the party were discussed over the Punjab political tumult.

It is to be recalled here, earlier this week, Mr. Rawat had already met Rahul Gandhi to deliberate on Punjab Congress infighting and had decided to implement the truce formula to end the longstanding feud between Capt Amarinder Singh and Navjot Sidhu.

Rawat’s meeting was scheduled with Mr. Gandhi for July 14, which could not take place as the latter had other meetings. Nevertheless, Mr. Rawat reiterated crisis in the state unit would be resolved soon as a significant formal announcement is on the way to declare Sidhu as Punjab Congress Chief.

The latest statement of Mr. Rawat has put the lobbyists and Congress leaders in a state of dilemma, pondering, "What Next"?

Meanwhile, Amritsar MLA Navjot Sidhu’s camp has kick-started the preparations to celebrate his victory ahead of the formal announcement. Posters claiming Sidhu’s victory in the tug of war was seen hanging across the state with a slogan “Punjab di hungaar, Sidhu iss vaar,” meaning for the 2022 Assembly Elections, Punjab wants Sidhu.

Also Read:Punjab Congress Crisis: Decision on Navjot Sidhu’s accommodation in state unit as Chief not sure: Harish Rawat

The poster further read, “Babbar Sher Ek Hi Hota Hai.”

While the other sect lifted posters for their true representative with a slogan, “Sadda Nara, Captain Dobara.”

Furthermore, Navjot Sidhu has even organized a meeting of his (rebellious) camp at the Chandigarh residence of Sukhjinder Randhawa. According to the sources, Jalandhar Cantt MLA Pargat Singh, technical education minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Sukhbinder Singh Sukh Sarakaria, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa was present in the meeting along with other peeved leaders.

The meeting was called to decide the next move of Navjot Sidhu once he formally gets inducted as PPCC Chief. The sources have also suggested that Sidhu might visit Golden Temple, Amritsar on July 16 for thanksgiving.

This was a one-sided story of Sidhu’s camp, as their deliberations were related to Capt Amarinder Singh’s ignorant behavior ahead of the Cabinet rejig. The leaders might have streamlined their take on Capt but, no one has revealed a little piece of information to the media after wrapping up the meeting.

However according to the sources, it has come to light that anti-Captain group might tender mass resignation if CM sacks any of their ministers from the Cabinet.

Taking arms against his former colleague, Capt Amarinder Singh also called a meeting with his supportive fellows at his farmhouse at 5:30 pm today. Minister Sham Sunder Arora, MP Jasbir Singh Dimpa, Aruna Chaudhary, MP Gurjeet Singh Aujla, took part in the meeting along with other leaders.

These ministers and leaders have reposed their faith in Capt Amarinder Singh’s governance and have declared that they will contest the 2022 Assembly Elections under the patronage of Punjab CM.

The meeting convened by each faction head signifies that none of them is willing to bow down to the other.

The sources have further emphasized, Harish Rawat’s u-turn came after Capt Amarinder Singh built pressure on him and the High Command. Notably, Capt Amarinder is not gratified with the Central leadership’s new peace formula that involves the elevation of Sidhu as the party’s state unit chief.

Though after a few rounds of meeting with Congress interim chief Sonia Gandhi, Punjab CM said, “Whatever decision she will take, will abide by it.”

Before this, Capt Amarinder has also said, “Not comfortable to work as Punjab CM if Sidhu becomes party chief.”

Earlier, being blunt at the Congress, Sidhu said, he does not want the High Command to treat as a “showpiece” during elections.

Now, decision to end the deadlock to accommodate Sidhu in the state unit typically remains in the hands of Sonia Gandhi.

Will Capt Amarinder’s resistance towards Sidhu work as a powerful weapon to devoid him of elevation or Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi’s backing of Sidhu will make Sidhu state unit’s president. The upcoming days will reveal this all as Harish Rawat can reach Chandigarh soon to take up a meeting with Punjab CM while the High Command will furnish its own call on the matter.

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