Behind Navjot Singh Sidhu’s attack, Congress strategy to counter Arvind Kejriwal ‘ploy’

Party sources said state Congress chief Navjot Sidhu will continue taking on Arvind Kejriwal in his joint rally with CM Charanjit Channi in Bagha Purana on Thursday.

The Congress on Wednesday put a plan in the works to dispel confusion created in its ranks after AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal’s praise for PPCC chief Navjot Sidhu.

While Sidhu attacked Kejriwal in Amritsar Wednesday, party sources said that the state Congress chief will continue taking on Kejriwal in his joint rally with CM Charanjit Channi in Bagha Purana on Thursday.

Sources in the party said that it was discussed internally that Kejriwal had “tried to drive a wedge between Sidhu and the party” and there was an utmost need to convey a message to people and workers that Sidhu was “strong footed in the party and he would not look at any other outfit”.

A senior leader said that the party had got surveys also done recently especially to see if former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had got any traction especially after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing that they would be repealing the farm laws.

“Our surveys say conditions are not favourable for Captain yet. Our workers also come and tell us that he harmed the Congress. There were bad reviews about Channi visiting Amarinder personally taking his newly wedded son and other family members to his house. An image had gained ground that Channi was soft on Captain. That is why he attacked Amarinder on Tuesday accusing him of quid pro quo with Badals,’’ a party leader privy to the developments, said.

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BID TO WOO HINDU VOTERS

To appease Hindu voters, the party is now looking at Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana Kanwarpal Singh for responsibility of campaign committee. The party already has a Jat Sikh in Navjot Sidhu and an SC in Charanjit Channi. It was earlier toying with the idea of naming former PPCC chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar to make him the campaign committee chairman.

But lately, Jakhar has been tweeting his strong opposition for Channi and the party is feeling that Jakhar will not agree to work together with Channi. The party is now mulling giving Jakhar an important position in Congress in the central organisation. It is also contemplating giving senior leader Ambika Soni, who is also a Hindu, to head the coordination committee of Punjab Congress so that she can use her position to iron out differences between state leaders.

AICC incharge Harish Chaudhary had a meeting with Jakhar at the latter’s residence in Panchkula on Wednesday to discuss the developments. The duo had a two-hour long meeting but it is learnt that Jakhar refused to work actively in Punjab. Jakhar was tipped to be the Chief Minister after Amarinder’s ouster. But he was blocked by Sukhjinder Randhawa, who is now Deputy CM. Later, the party tried to name Jakhar the Deputy CM. But he refused the offer.

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