Chandigarh: At a time when politics is majorly being played on the bases of religion and caste, self-proclaimed secular Congress too had to adapt itself to the current trend to keep the Punjab seat. After Captain Amarinder’s exit, a popular name cropped up for the Punjab CM post which majority of MLAs favoured, yet some played a religion based politics and didn’t promote former state party chief Sunil Jakhar to the high post.
Making the big revelation today, former Punjab Congress president, Sunil Jakhar, claimed that after the unseating of Captain Amarinder Singh, he was favoured by 42 MLAs to be the next chief minister of the state followed by Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa with 16 MLAs, Charanjit Singh Channi – who finally turned out to be Amarinder Singh’s successor, getting lowest support, of only 2 MLAs. While, Navjot Singh Sidhu was supported by only 6 MLAs for the CM post.
Addressing a public meeting in Abohar assembly constituency – from where his nephew Sandeep Jakhar is contesting, Jakhar claimed that he was the first choice for Chief Ministerial post after Amarinder Singh’s exit.
Upon being asked why the party ignored the popular choice, Jakhar, said, “Though Congress is a secular party but somehow a perception was created that a Sikh should be the chief minister of the state. It was not the decision of Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi but few leaders from Punjab and Delhi made the decision. I have no remorse that despite getting maximum votes, I was not considered because I was not a Sikh. It somewhat pains me but I respect the decision.”
He further revealed, “I was not even an MLA or state Congress president, despite that 42 MLA preferred me as new chief minister. I take solace in this.”
Jakhar says whenever some questions are raised on choice of office bearers, he has said they should not undermine the authority of any office and likewise when party took the decision he did not differ, “It was only a telephonic call to all the MLAs asking about who should be in the chair after Amarinder and at this point of time when elections are round the corner we should not go to people to ask their choice for party face, pointing towards party getting views about CM face between Channi and Sidhu,” he added.
Jakhar also claimed that after Channi was succeeded to the chief minster post, the party had offered him the post of deputy chief minister, which he had politely declined. Currently, Jakhar is the chief of the campaign committee in Punjab.
He, however, lauded Channi for doing his job well.