"Punjab Jitega": Navjot Sidhu As Congress Plans Changes To Team Amarinder

A three-member committee set up by Sonia Gandhi today met cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Sidhu - who is Amarinder Singh's biggest rival within the party

Amarinder Singh and Navjot Sidhu have been rivals since the 2017 Assembly election (File)

Chandigarh:

The Congress on Tuesday continued firefighting efforts in Punjab, where it is trying to appease rebel MLAs who have questioned Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's leadership ahead of next year's election.

Punjab is one of just three states that the party rules on its own.

A three-member committee, set up by party chief Sonia Gandhi to resolve this issue, today met cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Sidhu - who is Amarinder Singh's biggest rival within the party.

After the meeting he said: "Punjab jitega, punjabiyat jeetegi (Punjab will win, Punjabis will win).

"I came here to present the people's voices - from grassroots to the High Command. My stand on democratic power is the same. The power of the people must return to them. I have clearly stated the truth," he added.

Amarinder Singh and Navjot Sidhu have maintained a running feud since the 2017 election; Mr Sidhu hoped to be made Deputy Chief Minister but that move was reportedly scuttled by Mr Singh.

More recently they clashed over a Punjab and Haryana High Court order that quashed a SIT report into the 2015 Guru Granth Sahib desecration case, and asked the state to set up a new team.

"More law, less justice... Justice delayed is justice denied," Mr Sidhu tweeted, to which Mr Singh replied by calling his outbursts "total indiscipline" and suggesting he might leave to join the AAP.

The committee will meet the Chief Minister in Delhi on Thursday.

On Monday night senior Congress leader Harish Rawat, who is part of the committee, stressed that the party is not considering a change of leadership in the state. He said the committee had spoken to 28 people and been informed of some concerns, including lack of action in the 2015 desecration case.

He also said the MLAs had "high expectations from Amarinder Singh, hence the resentment".

"Our leaders told us they want to develop their constituencies. They were given some funds but now they need more. It is like 'dil mange more (the heart wants more)'-type situation," he said.

He said the committee would try to resolve some issues, including lack of Dalit representation.

Sources confirmed to NDTV the committee may recommend appointing two Deputy Chief Ministers - at least one of whom will be from that community - in a bid to end this crisis.

Meanwhile, Amarinder Singh, on Tuesday morning, released a statement that said his government would "fulfill all poll promises before going to the people for blessings for the 2022 election".

Earlier on Monday party sources said their grievances were against Mr Singh - a Gandhi family loyalist and a hugely influential figure who broke the 10-year rule of the Akali-BJP combine in 2017.

Rebel MLAs and leaders said they did not expect to win the 2022 election under his leadership.