With senior Punjab Congress leader Sunil Jakhar claiming a majority of legislators had backed him as Chief Minister after Captain Amarinder Singh was ousted from post, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Wednesday said Jakhar’s statement had exposed the electoral fraud committed by the Congress high command in the name of inner-party democracy.
In a statement here, SAD leader Dr Daljit Singh Cheema demanded the immediate resignation of Congress president Sonia Gandhi over Jakhar’s public remarks which have put the Congress in an embarrassing position at a time the party is finding it hard to announce its chief ministerial face in the poll-bound state.
He said the Congress high command had not only cheated its legislators but the entire rank and file by making Mr Charanjit Channi the chief minister. “This was done even though Charanjit Singh Channi secured only two votes during an internal ballot of legislators which was held to decide Amarinder Singh’s replacement as chief minister,” he added.
Dr Cheema said now that Sunil Jakhar had disclosed that 46 Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) had voted for him, 16 for Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, 12 for Preneet Kaur, six for Navjot Singh Sidhu and two for Channi as the CM face, it was up to the Congress high command to set the record straight.
“The Congress party also owes an explanation to the party rank and file as to why it did not proceed on the principle of inner-party democracy. This also shows that the inner-party democracy which the Congress proclaims is a sham and that it is still run in a dictatorial manner by the Gandhi family,” he added.
Jakhar’s statement in a day-old video has come at a time when Congress has decided to take feedback from voters and party workers to choose between Channi and Sidhu as the CM face.
Jakhar, who was one of the faces of the campaign for the coming Assembly elections, has apparently been left out by the party after it took a U-turn on going to the elections with a CM face.
The former Punjab Congress chief, who was addressing a rally in Abohar in support of his nephew Sandeep Jakhar, is heard saying in the video that after Amarinder’s ouster, 42 of 79 Congress MLAs had voted for him.
“Rahul Gandhi ji called me and asked why I was not keen to become deputy CM of Punjab. I told him that it was more than enough that people took my name as a popular choice as CM face. I didn’t want anything else. Otherwise, what was I at that time , not even an MLA,” Jakhar is heard saying in the video.
In the video that has gone viral, Jakhar, who is chairman of the Congress campaign committee, is heard saying in Punjabi that he has no complaints and “God does whatever is right”.