Just before leaving for Delhi to meet with the Congress three-member committee after weeks of infighting, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh welcomed three rebel Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs to the party on Thursday, 3 June.
Singh said the induction of the three legislators – Sukhpal Singh Khaira, Jagdev Singh Kamalu, and Pirmal Singh Dhaula – has been approved by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, news agency IANS reported.
Patiala Member of Parliament and the CM’s wife Preneet Kaur was also present during the joining ceremony. Punjab Congress tweeted photos of the same.
Khaira, a former leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly, had quit the Congress and joined the AAP in December 2015. He was elected from the Bholath Assembly seat in 2017.
However, he resigned from the primary membership of the AAP in January 2019 and eventually also launched his own outfit, the Punjabi Ekta Party.
The chief minister was quoted as saying, “Since the All India Congress Committee (AICC) in charge of Punjab, Harish Rawat, and state unit chief Sunil Jakhar are busy in the consultation process with the three-member committee in Delhi, their blessings will be sought in a few days,” IANS reported.
Why Have Tensions Intensified?
Tensions have intensified in the Congress’ Punjab unit over the past few weeks, as former state minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on 18 May censured Captain Amarinder Singh, alleging that his colleagues were being threatened for raising questions on the state government’s handling of the ‘sacrilege’ case and for speaking the truth on the matter.
The recent outburst of animosity also came as the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed an SIT report into the Kotkapura firing incident of 2015, following which Sidhu accused the CM of evading responsibility in the case and demanded action against the perpetrators.
The Congress high command began the task of making peace with the three-member committee comprising Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, party’s General Secretary In-charge for Punjab Harish Rawat and former MP Jai Prakash Aggarwal.
Congress leader Navjot Sidhu met the committee on Tuesday.
After a reportedly two-hour-long meeting, Sidhu was quoted as saying, “I came on the invitation of the high command. Whatever they asked me about the people of Punjab, I apprised them. I have come to make sure that the voice of the people of Punjab reaches the high command,” he was quoted as saying.
(With inputs from IANS)
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