Highlighting the sensitivity of the situation in Punjab following the crisis that has broken out with the recent change in leadership and a flurry of resignations in the ruling Congress, party leader Manish Tewari today said the price of such political instability will be paid by the people of the state.
The Anandpur Sahib MP, whose Lok Sabha constituency includes nine of the legislative ones, also said that such disruption only makes Pakistan and its intelligence agency, the ISI, "happy".
In the 1980s and 1990s, Punjab had suffered a violent insurgency largely backed by the neighbouring country.
"Every Congressman will ensure that mandate of the people is respected. I don't think this prolonged sulking works for the state. This whole thing could have been handled in much, much more graceful and better way," Mr Tiwari told NDTV.
The latest phase of the crisis came about yesterday when the newly-appointed Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu resigned, apparently over some appointments made by the new Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi in his cabinet.
Following the former cricketer's shock move, a few other newly appointed ministers, considered close to him, too, quit their position.
"I am extremely anguished and distressed at the way the things have panned out," Mr Tiwari said when asked if Mr Sidhu was "stable", something former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has repeatedly doubted.
"My only interest is in the implication of actions. It is up to the Chief Minister to run the government. Nobody can exercise overlordship primarily because they occupied one place or the other," he said. "Whatever reasons somebody may have had, if you act in a manner which affects the stability, it is a matter of great anguish."
Today, Mr Singh, whom Mr Sidhu had railed against constantly for months till he gave up his post a few days, met Union Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi and was said to be en route to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"Amarinder Singh is competent enough to answer these questions," Mr Tiwari said when asked about these meetings, which have sparked intense speculation over his joining the BJP.
He said the stability of the Congress party was essential for the "idea of India".
"People are looking for an alternative and it is imperative that we measure up to the people's expectation," he said. "The fact remains that we need to measure up to the expectations of people. We need to ensure that 2024 is different from 2019."