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Cong leader Ambika Soni refuses to become Punjab’s next Chief Minister: Sources

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

New Delhi: A day after Captain Amarinder Singh resigned, Congress leader Ambika Soni has turned down an offer to become the next Chief Minister of Punjab. Sources said that Sonia turned down the offer in a meeting with her party colleague Rahul Gandhi late last night.

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Ms Soni made it clear at the meeting that not having a Sikh as the Chief Minister has “ramifications”, the sources said, asking not to be named.

The Congress’s three political observers for Punjab are meeting with every MLA to get their views on the matter, and the three will report back to the party high command for a decision on who would be the next Chief Minister.

Many in the party are upset with the bad handling of the matter, sources said.

Mr Singh’s resignation comes months before assembly elections are due in Punjab, and the new Chief Minister will have a lot of ground to cover once the leader takes charge.

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“A meeting of MLAs was held with Harish Rawat and Ajay Maken yesterday. A resolution was passed that Sonia Gandhi’s decision will be final on this matter. Today, you will get to know her decision,” said Punjab Congress working president Pawan Goel.

Former Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar, party state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa are possible names for the top post. Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa and Congress MP Partap Singh Bajwa are reportedly also in running.

Amarinder Singh has ruled out accepting Navjot Sidhu as his successor and left the door open on leaving the Congress. “Navjot Singh Sidhu is an incompetent man. He was a total disaster in my government. He couldn’t run one ministry I gave him. He did not clear files for seven months,” the former Chief Minister, popularly known as Captain, told NDTV on Saturday.

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