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Facing a stiff challenge from CM Channi, Navjot Sidhu says ‘High command wants weak CM who can…’

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: Facing a stiff challenge from his party leader and current state chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu – who is one of the contenders for the party’s CM face in the state assembly elections, on Friday took a dig at the leadership and said “people at the top want a weak CM who can dance to their tunes.”

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Sidhu, who is seen as a strong contender against CM Channi, also seemed to question the method adopted by the high commands of his party to decide on the CM face.

While the Congress has undertaken a tele-voting to seek the opinion of party workers on the two contenders, Sidhu feels it is the people of the state who will decide the next chief minister.

“If a new Punjab has to be made, it is in the hands of the CM … You have to choose the CM this time. People at the top want a weak CM who can dance to their tunes. Do you want such a CM,” Sidhu said according to reports.

Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and former president Rahul Gandhi is likely to announce the party’s CM face for Punjab tomorrow after taking inputs from workers in the state.

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The grand old party, which normally does not announce CM face for state elections, has been forced to do so this time after both Sidhu and Channi insisted on projecting a leader in the state.

While the results of this tele-voting are yet to be announced, speculations are that Channi might surge ahead of Sidhu in this race. If this happens, it will come as big jolt to Sidhu, who has been eying the top post for quite some time.

Sidhu had for a longtime led often bitter campaign to oust Amarinder Singh first from the chief minister’s post and then the party. After Amarinder’s exit, he was all set to lead the party in Punjab assembly elections due in 2022 till Channi emerged on the scene as the first Dalit chief minister of Punjab.

Channi was supposed to be a stop-gap arrangement till the elections but as he played his cards very well as the chief minister and surprised everyone, including Sidhu, with his smart moves and his public outreach, he turned out to be a prized asset for Punjab Congress.

In a hint that the scales might be tilting towards the incumbent CM, the Congress had fielded Channi from two seats. Also, he has been included in the list of “star campaigners” for Uttarakhand, while leaving Sidhu out.

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Though, both the leaders have agreed to accept the decision of the party on the issue of chief minister face, the road ahead doesn’t seem so smooth for the two.

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