With the party panel for Punjab set to submit its reports on the political turmoil in the state, sources say that it may not recommend removal of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and he is likely to lead the party in the state to the next elections.
The panel members are also tight-lipped about the change of guard in the organization but sources say that a non-Sikh member is likely to be recommended by the panel to lead the state unit if Sunil Jhakhar the incumbent state president is to be replaced.
Fate of cricketer-turned-politician Sidhu is still not clear but he may be recommended for the Deputy Chief Minister’s post in the Punjab cabinet despite Amarimder’s reservations and he could be seen accommodated as a deputy in the cabinet, sources said.
Last week the panel headed by Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, Congress’ Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat and former MP J.P. Aggarwal met all the stakeholders in the party.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh appeared before the three-member Congress panel.
After the meeting Captain Amarinder Singh said: “The meeting was to discuss the preparations for the Assembly elections scheduled early next year. These are our inner party discussions and I don’t propose to share them with you.”
The rift in Punjab Congress had surfaced after former state Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu along with Pargat Singh opened a front against the Chief Minister.
The All India Congress Committee (AICC) was forced to constitute a committee to listen to the grievances of its Punjab leaders, after a group led by Sidhu suggested change in the state leadership. However, sources said that there has been no discussion on replacing Amarinder Singh.
The Congress wants to pacify Sidhu and retain him in the party by making some minor adjustments, without going for a major shake-up, sources said.
The panel has already discussed the issue with former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, besides meeting the party MPs from Punjab and the ex-state unit chiefs.
Disgruntled Congress leader Sidhu, who has targeted Amarinder Singh on various issues, including the 2015 sacrilege case, had also met the Congress panel and presented his views.
Interacting with reporters after the meeting, he had said: “I came here on the call of the party high command and I have presented people’s voices from the grassroots level to the party. My stand on democratic power remains the same that the ‘power of the people’ must return to the people. Every Punjabi must be made a shareholder in Punjab’s progress.”