Panel report tells how to end Punjab Congress factionalism | Chandigarh News – Times of India

CHANDIGARH: The three-member AICC panel led by Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, set up to end factionalism in the Punjab Congress, submitted its report to party chief Sonia Gandhi on Thursday based on feedback from party MLAs, MPs and other party leaders in the state.
Sources said where the panel has made a case for suitably accommodating former cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, along with strengthening of the organisational structure ahead of the next assembly elections, besides fair representation in the party and government positions to the Sikhs, Hindus and the Dalits.
More political appointments as heads of boards and corporations, more representation to various communities and a new PPCC too have been recommended, said the sources. However, it is learnt that the panel has not suggested any change in leadership in the state and that Amarinder should continue at the helm.
Sidhu’s nature of political rehabilitation left to Sonia
The panel has left the nature of political rehabilitation of Sidhu to Sonia Gandhi, said the sources. The panel is also believed to have taken note of Amarinder’s defence against his detractors, including that inaccessibility was not an issue during the Covid-19 crisis.
It is believed that a section of the party MLAs in the state had conveyed to the panel various shortcomings in the functioning of their own party’s government, including the influence of the bureaucracy and the overall style of functioning of the leadership.
“It would be a tough call on Sidhu. The CM has been against making him the PPCC chief. But there could be other options such as head of the campaign committee,” said a party leader.
The panel has also underlined the need for effective steps to bring a sense of closure on the emotive sacrilege cases, said the sources.
Earlier in the day, Congress in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Rawat told media persons that the panel had submitted a partial report to Sonia Gandhi and the draft report is ready. The remaining report addressing specific issues is also being submitted, he said.
A section of Cabinet ministers too has also dithered in supporting Amarinder in wake of the latter’s verbal spat with Sidhu. This has even prompted the Amarinder camp to launch a campaign #CaptFor2022 to support him. Rawat had been advocating the need to bring Sidhu back to the fore, especially in view of the Punjab elections being around the corner.
Meanwhile, there has been talk of creating a post of deputy CM, changes in the Cabinet and the possibility of appointing working presidents. However, the decision will be taken by Sonia Gandhi, said party leaders.
Rahul Gandhi had himself spoken to a dozen party MLAs, the first-hand feedback that he got would also be crucial when the party high command decides on the recommendations of the panel, they added. Rahul had called up the MLAs on ‘Telegram’ before the panel launched the feedback exercise last week.
It is believed that three Cabinet ministers again met panel member Harish Rawat on Tuesday and flagged some more issues that had contributed to the party’s negative perception.

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