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Captain Amarinder Singh to remain, Sidhu may find place in Punjab Cabinet


CHANDIGARH:  The three-member panel of Congress, formed by interim president Sonia Gandhi to resolve the infighting in the Punjab unit, has indicated in its report submitted on Thursday that Amarinder Singh should not be replaced from the post of chief minister. The panel feels this is not necessary, with just months to go for Assembly elections.

But they also stated that former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is at loggerheads with the CM, should be accommodated, while recommending an organisational revamp. The panel is headed by Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge. It also includes the paty’s Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat and former MP JP Aggarwal.

Highlyplaced sources said their report has recommended that Amarinder should be the CM face in the elections. The panel is expected to meet Sonia Gandhi, who is likely to take a call on the matter.

Sources said that despite being a bitter critic of Amarinder, former minister Sidhu should be accommodated in the Cabinet again. His camp is demanding he be made deputy chief minister or state unit president, but Amarinder is against these ideas.

The panel has left it for the interim president to decide due to the lack of unanimity. The issue of inaccessibility of the CM flagged by some MLAs also made it to the report submitted by the panel.

If at all present PCC chief Sunil Jakhar is replaced, ex- Union minister Manish Tewari and Punjab Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla will be the favourites to take over. Sources believe they stand a better chance because both are close to Amarinder. State in-charge Harish Rawat is likely to be replaced on health grounds.