An over two-hour meeting between Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday apparently broke the logjam over the latter’s resignation from state Congress chief’s post with the two leaders appear to have reached consensus on some issues while others remain to be resolved.
After the meeting, attended by party leader Harish Chaudhary as party high command’s representative, Channi and Sidhu left the meeting at Punjab Bhawan in Chandigarh separately without a word on the outcome of the meeting. Other Congress leaders too, present, remained mum on the same.
As a middle path, the CM is said to have agreed to the formation of a coordination committee that will have a say in government decisions.
Sources said for now Sidhu is likely to stay as Punjab Congress chief but wants the party high command to look into the issues raised by him before withdrawing his resignation.
Channi has called a meeting of the Cabinet on Monday to discuss some of the issues on which both leaders reached a compromise.
In the meeting, the CM Channi asked Sidhu to reconsider his resignation but refused to accept Sidhu’s demand for removal of Director General of Police (DGP) Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota and the Attorney General (AG), APS Deol, both of whom were appointed rejecting the Punjab Congress chief’s recommendations.
As Sidhu has questioned the appointment of the DGP and AG on the ground that they can’t be trusted to ensure justice in sacrilege cases, Channi is understood to have offered the formation of a special prosecution team to plead the sacrilege cases.
Sidhu, who resigned from the party post on Tuesday citing a compromise by the CM in the appointment of tainted ministers, DGP and AG, made it clear to Channi that he will not accept tainted persons in the Congress government.
Even before the meeting with Channi, Sidhu questioned the DGP Sahota’s appointment. In a tweet, Sidhu said Sahota was head of SIT investigating sacrilege case under Parkash Singh Badal government. He alleged the present DGP then “wrongfully indicted two Sikh youth for sacrilege and gave a clean chit to Badals.
An indication of growing voices against Sidhu, senior Congress leader Sunil Jakhar sought an “end to attempts to undermine the authority of CM”.
“Enough is enough. Put an end to attempts to undermine the authority of CM time and again. Aspersions being cast on the selection of AG & DGP is actually questioning the integrity/competence of CM and Home Minister to deliver results. It’s time to put the foot down and clear the air,” Jakhar said in a tweet.