Rahul Gandhi's Meeting As Navjot Sidhu's Defiance Fuels Punjab Problem

On Friday, Harish Rawat had met party chief Sonia Gandhi and briefed her about the current issues in Punjab Congress especially newly appointed Punjab Congress Chief Navjot Sindhu's remarks and of his advisers.

New Delhi:

Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat is meeting Rahul Gandhi today, day after Navjot Sidhu warned that it will be "disastrous" for the party if he is not given freedom in decision-making.

The warning came as one of Mr Sidhu's advisers, Malwinder Mali, quit after the party threatened to dismiss him over his controversial remarks if Mr Sidhu failed to remove him.     

Yesterday, Mr Rawat had met party chief Sonia Gandhi and briefed her about the current issues in Punjab Congress especially newly appointed Punjab Congress Chief Navjot Sindhu's remarks and of his advisers.

Mr Rawat is expected to cover the same in his meeting with Rahul Gandhi. Harish Rawat, sources say, has asked the party to relieve him of the Punjab role, citing the Uttarakhand election next year.

Recently some rebel MLAs from Punjab Congress had also met Mr Rawat in Dehradun.

Playing down Navjot Sidhu's remarks, Mr Rawat said: "There is nothing like that, all of them are polite. They know what to do. Everyone has a style of speaking, it will be wrong to call it a rebellion."

Manish Tewari, Congress MP from Punjab, tweeted Navjot Sidhu's clip where he appears to be warning the party.

"Even if we sigh, we become infamous, even if they kill, there is no discussion," Mr Tewari captioned the Navjot Sidhu video.

"I have always worked towards changing lives; even today I'm working towards developing a Punjab model. I have told the high command that if I am able to live up to the expectations and hope of people surrounding the model, I assure you that I'll not let the Congress down and it will prosper for the next 20 years. But if you won't let me take decisions, eint naal eint bi kharkaonga (it will be disastrous for the party). There's no point in becoming a showpiece," said Navjot Sidhu yesterday.

The row over Mr Sidhu's advisers has erupted just weeks after the Congress brokered a delicate truce between him and Amarinder Singh, to try and end a feud that has endangered the party's prospects in the Punjab election next year.

Amid renewed demands to removed Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, after he targeted the advisers of Navjot Sidhu over their comments on Pakistan and Kashmir, the Congress has out its faith in the Chief Minister, declaring that he will lead the party in the polls next year.

"We will contest 2022 Punjab elections under the leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh," Mr Rawat had said earlier this week.

The fresh infighting indicates that the crisis in the state party - which started earlier this year - is far from over.

Asked if she thinks Mr Sidhu is responsible for the unrest in the party, state leader Preneet Kaur said, "Of course he started it, it is his advisers".