Chandigarh: Punjab Pradesh Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu is on the job and he means it.
Soon after ‘spearheading’ his endeavour to foist one of his trusted lieutenants Charanjit Singh Channi as the new CM of the state replacing his bete noire, Amarinder Singh, the former cricketer is leaving no stone unturned to expedite the process of revamping the party mired in factional feuds.
Sidhu on Tuesday posted a picture on Instagram where he is seen sharing the frame with Channi, Deputy CM SS Randhawa and one more individual with what could be called a private jet in the background. He captioned it, “In line of duty.” It is appreciable that an impulsive Sidhu has taken upon himself to fill in the gaps that require immediate redressal. But make no mistake, his acid test starts now.
Sidhu may have succeeded in persuading the Congress High Command to end Singh’s tenure as CM, but the growing consternation within the party rank and file should be snatching away his sleep.
Much to our chagrin, dissenting voices are rampant and the warring leaders do not refrain from washing dirty linen in public which malign all display of unity. Sunil Jakhar is fuming, so is Randhawa for not being preferred over Channi. Senior minister of the erstwhile Singh cabinet, Brahm Mohindra is peeved at being deprived of the Deputy CM post. And if you thought, the ousted CM would sit idle, then you were highly mistaken.
Rahul Gandhi may be boasting of having pulled off a masterstroke by appointing a Dalit as the chief minister with an eye on the state polls scheduled next year, but baffling statements from state in-charge Harish Rawat on the party’s face only add to the growing fissures within the party.
Sidhu has got what he craved for but if he is to steer the party to power next year, he needs to let go of his personal ambitions. If Channi’s elevation is a stopgap arrangement, then the Dalits comprising more than 30 per cent of the population have been taken for a ride which could have ramifications at the booths.
It would be prudent on the part of the Congress not to convey a mesage which can distance the voters from the Grand Old Party. Sidhu, we all know is prone to rhetorics and his theatrics are part of folklore. But now he needs to take stock of the situation and mollify even an inch of dissension brewing.
Sidhu Paaji you wanted power, you got it. But do not deride the fact that you are walking a tightrope under strict vigil. Give up your personal agenda, do not indulge in unbashed populism and take the party home. Be flexible and give a patient hearing to your seniors who are left disillusioned. Make sure, Channi is not used as a scapegoat – focus on strengthening the party and let the CM run the government.
In one sense, the Congress High Command (read Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra) has ensured the sword hangs over your head. Any unilateral decision on your part to further your CM aspirations at the expense of the party’s interest (dumping Channi) if proved costly, would queer the pitch for you. So, going complacent over the blessings of his Delhi bosses could have a cascading effect.
Now, Sidhuji, you have been crying hoarse on the previous regime’s failure to implement the 18-point agenda, so here we go – make sure you undo the ‘damage’ you allege Singh and his team inflicted on the state. But…
You are expected to play an elder brother who harbours no malicious intentions. Your fans didn’t get to see your leadership skills on the cricket field, but here’s a chance to rise to the occasion.
Easier said than done, but you asked for it, Sidhu Saab!