Chandigarh: When he was humiliated a few months back by being unceremoniously replaced with Navjot Singh Sidhu as the Punjab Congress President, Sunil Jakhar was left sulking. Though he didn’t express his resentment openly, insiders claimed, Jakhar was not amused at the High Command’s decision. But Jakhar could be compensated by being entrusted with a much bigger responsibility – Amarinder Singh’s successor on the hot seat of the CM.
If India Today’s sources are to be believed, post Singh’s emotional resignation, Jakhar is the frontrunner to succeed him and not Sukhwinder Randhawa or Ambika Soni and not even the ambitious Sidhu.
If Jakhar, a Hindu is anointed as the next CM, then it would lend credence to the Congress’ motive to cut into the Hindu vote share of the BJP which in all probabilities will go solo in the state polls due next year. Jakhar, if chosen, will also be the fourth Hindu to be the Punjab CM after Gopi Chand Bhargava, Bhim Sen Sachar and Ram Kishan after independence and the first since 1966.
There are also stories doing the rounds that Jakhar would have two deputy CMs – one each from the Dalit and Sikh communities. Charanjit Channi or Raj Kumar Verka could be the Dalit face with Randhawa stepping in as the other Deputy chief minister.
If such conjectures turn out to be true, then the party High Command is leaving no stone unturned to challenge the opposition from the SAD-BSP alliance too. Mayawati’s BSP will contest in collaboration with the Akali Dal – a ploy by SAD to widen its reach targetting the Dalits in the state. So, by picking a Dalit as one of the two Deputy CMs, the message would be loud and clear from the Grand Old Party.
Keeping in mind such electoral equations, the Congress would pull no punches to take on the Opposition beating them in their own game.
Now all eyes on Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi who will decide on the next CM in a desperate bid to salvage the Congress’ image sullied by rampant infighting.