Punjab pitch could turn tricky for Congress

Channi and Sidhu nurse CM hopes; Congress leadership needs to intervene

The Congress party’s troubles seem far from over in Punjab. With the party leaders themselves vying with each other even when an important election season is near, the grand old party has much to put behind before it contests the Assembly polls schedule for next month as a united front.

However, that doesn’t seem the case in Punjab. Navjot Singh Sidhu, the main man in charge of affairs in the state unit of the Congress, and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi are still at loggerheads. Infighting has, indeed, cause much problems for the party already. Earlier when Navjot Sidhu played truant, Amarinder Singh, the party’s most prominent face in Punjab and Chief Minister, quit the party to form a new outfit and forge an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Sidhu’s nominee Channi was made Chief Minister, but Sidhu’s maverick ways led to added trouble, leading to a fall out between the two. The rivalry continues, making it look like a tough journey ahead for the party in the state.

Announce CM candidate for poll win, says Channi

Taking a step ahead of Navjot Sidhu, Channi made a statement that could ruffle the high command’s feathers. In an interview with a local television channel, the Punjab Chief Minister said that the party should announce its chief ministerial candidate ahead of the polls. He substantiated his argument, saying that the party has lost every time it decided not to announce a chief ministerial face. He pointed out that during the 2017 elections, the party had declared its CM candidate and it posted victory. But when the party decided against announcing a chief ministerial candidate before that, it had lost.

This coming close on the heels of the party leadership deciding not to go ahead with declaring a chief minister candidate is sure to trigger trouble within.

His inference may be seen as establishing himself as the deal CM candidate. He even said that he was very popular and the people’s excitement when seeing him proves that. However, he stopped short of saying that he should be the chosen one.

Though the party leadership is against declaring a chief minster candidate, PCC chief Navjot Sidhu is also of the opinion that a candidate should be announced. The party chief in the state wants his name to be announced as he has plan for the development of Punjab.

Will Congress declare CM candidate ahead of polls?

The new issue is wide open, with both strongmen in Punjab’s Congress terrain looking to ascend to the Chief Minister’s chair if the party won. However, with infighting so intense and a focussed approach on the elections yet to come by, the Punjab Congress unit’s hopes of coming back to power is far-fetched. And yet, this is the Assembly polls and there could be ways for the party redeem itself before the campaign process intensifies. But no one knows what would actually be needed to declare a ceasefire on the infighting that’s raging in the party.

Even the party top leadership seems clueless. After so many mishaps and miscalculations, Rahul Gandhi and co are yet to come to terms with what is happening in one of the most significant poll arenas in the country. Just holding meetings and forgetting all about them wouldn’t make for some sensible politics. The people are not dumb and the party leaders who control the reins should have known that at least by now.

The problem is that no effort is being made to halt the warring factions inside the party, and make them stand united on a single plank. With winning opportunities galore as has been presented on a platter by the rival parties of late, the Congress needs to up its game if it is to make a mark in Punjab.

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