Amidst the ongoing crisis within the Punjab Congress, several hoardings surfaced on Saturday in Amritsar asking the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to ‘go back’. Kejriwal is scheduled to visit the city on Sunday (June 21), ahead of the upcoming State Legislative polls next year.
“Kejriwal go back,” read the hoarding. While speaking about the development, Congress leader Saurabh Madan remarked, “He will reach at 12 pm, his visit is a political stunt. How many times has he come here in the last 4 years? He should pay a visit to Harmandir Sahib and go back. He (Kejriwal) is not needed in Punjab. AAP MLAs are joining Congress. No leader will be inducted into their party (AAP) tomorrow, I have come to know about an officer, but no leader.”
He (AAP leader and Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal) is not needed in Punjab. AAP MLS are joining Congress. No leader will be inducted into their party (AAP) tomorrow, I have come to know about an officer, but no leader: Saurabh Madan, Congress (20.06)— ANI (@ANI) June 20, 2021
Madan had described the Delhi CM’s visit to the state as a ‘political stunt.’ Earlier this month, two rebel AAP MLAs namely Jagdev Singh Kamalu and Pirmal Singh Khalsa defected to the Congress party. Sukhpal Singh Khaira, the legislator of the Bholath Assembly segment, also joined the Congress. This has added to the electoral woes of the Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab. It must be mentioned that the party had won 20 seats in the 2017 State Legislative polls.
The ongoing crisis within the Punjab Congress
Ahead of the 2022 Punjab Vidhan Sabha elections, infighting has begun within the state unit of Congress. The party headed by Captain Amarinder Singh in the state is facing stiff opposition from fellow party leader Navjot Singh Siddhu. The former cricketer Had accused the Punjab CM of having ties with the rival Badal family of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD). Siddhu also received the support of Cabinet Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa and several other MLAs.
This promoted party supremo Sonia Gandhi to constitute a committee headed by Mallikarjun Kharge, which then submitted a report to her to resolve the ongoing crisis. The committee had heard over 150 party leaders as well as Captain Amarinder Singh and recommended that the party give a suitable post to Navjot Singh Siddhu. It had also called for the reorganisation of the party structure. The resentment against the Punjab CM began shortly after he formed the government.
He had announced a farm debt waiver to farmers and transferred ₹5000 crores to their bank accounts through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). The rebel Congress faction was miffed that they could not take enough credit for the scheme and alleged that the administration was being run by bureaucrats. Allegations had also surfaced that Captain Amarinder Singh has dossiers on his party legislators, which allegedly expose their role in the sand mining business, transport business, liquor trade, and land-grab cases. The last nail in the coffin that further escalated the infighting was the Punjab government’s loss in the High Court in the Behbal Kalan and Kot Kapura firing cases.