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Friday, July 1, 2022

Navjot Sidhu resumes charge as Punjab Congress chief

Chandigarh Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, who on Tuesday resumed charge 10 days after withdrawing his resignation, said that winnability will be the only criteria for ticket allotment in the upcoming 2022 state polls.

Talking to the mediapersons, he said that a roadmap was ready and party’s organisational setup in state will be out within 10 days. “The list of district presidents and party spokespersons will be announced soon,” he said.

Party’s state affairs in-charge Harish Chaudhary and chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi accompanied Sidhu to the party office. Sidhu had resigned from the party’s top post on September 28, opposing appointment of APS Deol as advocate general, after Charanjit Singh Channi took over as the state CM, for the reasons that he had secured blanket bail for Punjab’s ex-DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, an accused in the sacrilege case.

He had also opposed appointment of IPS Sahota as DGP, for giving clean chit to some key accused in the sacrilege case when he was heading a special investigation team (SIT) in 2015.

After assurance by the state government for replacement of both the officers. Sidhu, on November 5 had announced to withdraw his resignation with the condition that both Deol and Sahota would be replaced. The appointment of new AG was discussed in Tuesday’s meeting and the all the ministers gave powers to the CM for choosing new incumbent. A panel for a new DGP has been sent to the Union home ministry for approval.

Answering a query from the media, sate Congress head reiterated that the best option to regulate sand trade was to constitute a state-owned corporation, quoting the example of Telangana. Recently Channi had announced to sell sand at rate of 5.5 per cubic feet.

In reply to another question from media, Sidhu said the party’s organisation and the government were united and the special session of Vidhan Sabha last week was the evidence.

Sidhu reiterated that there was need to increase tax recovery and fill the state’s coffers because welfare schemes can’t be run by taking debts. He again pitched for raising the state’s income for spending on development works rather than depending upon the debt. “Punjab is the most indebted state in the country. Today, Goa’s capital expenditure per person is 14,000 while Haryana’s is 6,000 and the national average is 3,500. But Punjab spends only 870,” he said.

On being questioned as to who would contest from Patiala assembly segment, Sidhu said the candidate will be chosen as it will be done for the rest of the constituencies. Former CM Capt Amarinder Singh, whom Channi replaced on September 20, represents the constituency as MLA.

‘Opening of Kartarpur corridor a welcome step’

Welcoming opening of Kartarpur corridor for which an announcement was made by the Union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday, Sidhu said it’s a priceless gift to the humanity and especially the Sikhs. “I praise the government who opened it, because some things are above politics,” he said. Referring to state government’s proposal to construct a ‘Darshan Sthal’ — a 60-metre raised platform — Sidhu said the work should be completed soon.

Every citizen is a CM face: Chaudhary

To a question on party’s chief ministerial face, party’s state in-charge Harish Chaudhary said that every citizen of the state is the CM face. Chaudhary said the party’s state unit under the leadership of Navjot Sidhu and the state government under chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi will take Punjab forward.

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