The turmoil caused in the Congress Party following losses in all five states of this year’s assembly elections seems to be leading to some serious ramifications. From Sonia Gandhi offering to retire along with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (if the party leadership considered it necessary) to her asking the State Chiefs of all five states (in which elections took place) to resign, the party is fighting tooth and nail to get back up on its own two feet. The latest development has come from Punjab, where Navjot Singh Sidhu has resigned as the State Chief of Punjab following Sonia’s insistence.
It has taken place almost eight months after Sidhu initially took over as the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC). His resignation came after Sonia had asked all the PCC presidents to resign so that a reorganisation of state bodies could take place. Sidhu also explained in a tweet how he had tendered his resignation as the party president desired it.
Not the first instance
This instance is only the second one when Sidhu has resigned as the state chief. The first time was in September 2021, when he left over the appointment of DGP and advocate general in the Channi government. In the letter that he wrote to Sonia Gandhi back then, he had mentioned how he wasn’t ready to compromise on “Punjab’s future”. According to Tribune India, the letter said, “The collapse of a man’s character stems from the compromise corner, I can never compromise on Punjab’s future and the agenda for the welfare of Punjab. Therefore, I hereby resign as the president of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee.”
He withdrew his resignation once the decision to replace the DGP was implemented, and the AG was changed.
The instability inside the party
The conflict between some key members (erstwhile and current) of the Congress Party is well known. Sidhu had questioned his party ahead of the elections over its “inability” to put restrictions on the sand mafia. He also joined the issue with Channi and demanded that the party command name a Chief Minister face. Sidhu is also cited as one of the primary reasons behind the exit of Capt. Amarinder Singh (former CM of Punjab) from the party. Singh called Sidhu an acolyte of the deep Pakistani state and Sonia and Rahul Gandhi to appoint him the Punjab State Chief despite “unanimous opposition from all state MPs”. He blamed Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra for patronising Sidhu.
Sidhu consistently maintained that he could not campaign in the state once Channi was made the CM face because of his issues with him over the handling of the sand mafia. Sunil Jakhar, a former member of the Lok Sabha, was also mired in the tussle. It has been speculated that the lack of cohesion between these senior party members, including Sidhu, Channi, Amarinder Singh and Jakhar, was why Congress confronted heavy losses in recent elections.