New Delhi, May 23 : While Congress is trying to corner the government for the mismanagement of the Covid pandemic, the party is facing internal feud in the ruling states of Rajasthan and Punjab. Former Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot has upped the ante against Ashok Gehlot, while in Punjab, Navjot Singh Sidhu is targeting Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
The new twist to the political saga of the Congress came in Rajasthan when senior Congress MLA Hemaram Choudhary, who belonged to the Pilot camp, sent his resignation to Assembly Speaker, while Ved Prakash Solanki, from the same camp turned vocal against the government, demanding that power should be decentralised and the party workers should be given more opportunities.
Solanki said, "Senior MLAs are not being heard in the present government. Hemaram Choudhary has just resigned. A thorough probe should be conducted to find out why the senior leader and six-time MLA had to step down." Solanki belongs to the group of MLAs who under the leadership of Pilot had rebelled against the leadership of Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot in July last year. However, the 19 rebel MLAs were re-inducted into the party after senior Congress leaders stepped in to sort out the matter, including Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and the late Ahmed Patel.
Sachin Pilot did not say anything directly but said, Choudhary is most honest and respected leader hinting that all is not well in the state.
While Congress is likely to constitute a committee for Punjab but the committee formed for Rajasthan has not come out with any amicable solution since the demise of Ahmed Patel last year. The Pilot camp is getting restless as it's about a year when he rebelled only to come back in the party fold, since then he is putting pressure on the party to accommodate his loyalists in the government but somehow Gehlot has managed to evade the issue.
Similarly in Punjab, Sidhu has openly called the disgruntled leaders to go to Delhi and air their grievances to the party leadership. Navjot Singh Sidhu has been training guns at Chief Amarinder Singh over the 2015 sacrilege issue and calling for party leaders to go to Delhi and raise it with the top leadership, the Congress on Friday said it was seized of the matter and will soon act.
Congress General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal said: "We are watching it and will take a call on it" while terming it an "organisational issue".
Sources say that the party is likely to constitute a committee to look into the issue in Punjab, where Assembly elections are due next year.
Cricketer-turned-politician Sidhu, who had been lying low since his resignation from the state Cabinet in July 2019, has launched scathing attack this month against the Chief Minister over his government's action over the alleged desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib in 2015 when the Akali Dal-BJP government was in power, and accused him of "shielding the Badals".
Charging the Chief Minister with taking action against his own party leaders instead, Sidhu, in a tweet on Thursday, said: "In 2019, I began & ended my Election Campaign in Punjab seeking - Justice for Sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib Ji & punishing the culprits & the ONE shielding them... Now, Our MLAs & Party Workers must go to Delhi & speak the Truth of Punjab to our High Command, as I regularly do." As his attacks on Amarinder Singh saw pushback from other ministers, who demanded his suspension from the party for indiscipline, Sidhu had urged the Chief Minister to stop firing from "colleagues' shoulders", and asked "... Who will protect you in court of the Great Guru?" Taking a tough stance last month, Amarinder Singh had said that if Sidhu "wants to contest against him, then he is free to do so but that would only lead to Sidhu meeting the fate of (former Army chief and Akali Dal candidate) General J.J. Singh who had lost his security deposit".
He had also challenged Sidhu to clearly spell out whether he is a Congress member or not.