By Rahil Nora Chopra
The Congress party is going to announce the party president election dates soon. According to sources, the process of election will start in the first week of July and Rahul Gandhi will be contesting. While the G-23 group of leaders, led by the Congress veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad, has been demanding reforms within the party and reiterating their calls for change, chances are their expectations will be met accordingly. The speculation is rife that the G-23 leaders may put up a consensus candidate against Rahul Gandhi and will also fight the election for the CWC members post.
SIDHU-CAPTAIN RIVALRY STILL TROUBLING PUNJAB CONGRESS
In a bid to end the crisis in Punjab, Congress had worked out a truce, but it’s still coming to a naught. According to sources, Navjot Singh Sidhu, who wanted to be either deputy CM or PCC chief, has been offered by the party the deputy CM’s post. But Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh is keen to appoint one more deputy CM, most probably a Dalit, to prevent Sidhu from occupying the Number 2slot in the state. To pressure the Congress high command for the second-most powerful position in the government, Navjot Singh Sidhu has now refused to work under Punjab CM. He is believed to have told the three-member panel working to resolve the differences in Punjab Congress that even if he accepted a deputy chief minister’s post, he would not be comfortable working under Captain. The speculation is rife that Sidhu may join the Aam Aadmi Party. Meanwhile, the Congress high command is expected to take action on the recommendations of the three-member panel constituted to find a solution to the growing factionalism in Punjab.
OUSTED CHIRAG PASWAN BLAMES CM NITISH, UNCLE PARAS FOR SPLITTING LJP
After removing Chirag Paswan as the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader in the Lok Sabha, five rebel MPs, led by his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras, also removed him as the president of the party, founded by his late father Ram Vilas Paswan. Now, Pashupati Kumar Paras on Thursday was elected unopposed as the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) national president. On the other hand, Chirag expelled the five rebel MPs from the party. With the two factions acting against each other in an attempt to take control of the party, the matter is likely to reach the Election Commission. Both sides claimed themselves to be the true representative of the party even as the Lok Sabha Secretariat had recognised Paras as the LJP leader in the House. Sources said the rebel group would now seek to remove Chirag as the leader of the LJP parliamentary board, stripping him of every position he took control of after the death of his father just ahead of Bihar Assembly elections last year. However, Chirag blamed Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for engineering a split in his party and rejected the decisions taken by the faction headed by his uncle Pashupati Kumar Paras.
PILOT CAMP EXPRESSES UMBRAGE AT BEING SIDELINED BY CM GEHLOT
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, known for his shrewd brand of politics, continues to play hardball, which has put cabinet expansion and political appointments in the state in limbo for the time being. This has led to resentment in the Sachin Pilot camp. Several of Pilot’s loyalists expressed unhappiness at being continuously sidelined and insinuations being cast on them. Pilot met some of his key loyalists at his official residence on Wednesday. These included Ved Prakash Solanki, who has emerged as a key aide of the former Deputy Chief Minister. He expressed anguish at their demands not being fulfilled and at being called traitors. While former deputy chief minister Sachin Pilot returned to Jaipur on Wednesday after his visit to Delhi last week, hoping to yield any concrete result for the faction led by him.
FACTIONALISM CONTINUES TO BOG DOWN UTTARAKHAND CONGRESS
Though Congress had not won a single Lok Sabha seat from Uttarakhand, at one point it did seem that the Congress would unite and do better in the next election. The infighting within Congress was not seen for the last three months, but now it has peaked again, despite the assembly polls less than a year away. According to sources, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has told senior leaders of Uttarakhand to end groupism in the state unit and ensure that leaders sink their differences and put up a united front in the elections. While former chief minister Harish Rawat is trying to mount pressure on the Congress high command to project him as the CM face before the 2022 assembly election, on the other hand, Uttarakhand Congress Chief Pritam Singh announced that the Congress has never fought the election in the name of chief ministerial candidate. The speculation is rife that Congress high command will appoint a new state president. The former state president Kishore Upadhyaya is the front runner. (IPA)