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“Congratulations, bye”: Ex Punjab Congress Chits Party, Guns Blazing


Chandigarh:

Sunil Jakhar, senior congressman and former head of his Punjab unit, left the party today, weeks after a leadership announcement was issued by the leadership over his criticism of former prime minister Charanjit Singh Channi.

“Goodbye and strength, Congress,” Mr Jakhar said in a live Facebook video after sharp criticism of former party colleagues who led the action against him.

His remarks come at a time when the Congress leadership is meeting in Udaipur in a desperate attempt to put his house in order to take on the BJP.

Last month, Congress’s disciplinary panel recommended that Mr Jakhar be expelled from the party for two years and removed from all posts.

The five-member committee is led by senior party leader AK Antony. The meeting on what steps to take against Mr Jakhar was attended by members Tariq Anwar, JP Aggarwal and G Parameswar, in addition to Mr Antony.

Ambika Soni, seen as Mr Jakhar’s beet noire, was not present at the meeting.

The former head of the Punjab Congress criticized the former prime minister Channi and called him a liability for the party after losing to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab.

Mr Jakhar was also critical of the party leadership because they Channi was nominated as prime ministerial candidate for the election, and was criticized by Ms Soni for allegedly reducing his chances of being elected prime minister following Amarinder Singh’s expulsion.

Amid the crisis in the Punjab Congress following Amarinder Singh’s resignation in September, Ms Soni said she turned down an offer for the post of prime minister and told the leadership that only a Sikh should be elected to the post. .

Mr Jakhar was seen as a forerunner to the top position and Ms Soni’s remark presumably ruined his prospects.

Mr. Jakhar spoke out and said the remark had spoiled Congress’ chances in the polls in the Assembly.

“Ambika Soni’s remarks spoiled our chances in polls. Her comments slandered Sikhs and the Hindus of Punjab,” he said. Addressing the President of Congress, Sonia Gandhi, he added: “I urge you (Sonia Gandhi) to ask her (Soni) if she knows what Sikhism is,” he added, and she accused of trying to create a rift in Hindu-Sikh fraternity.

The estranged congress leader again targeted Ms Soni, saying she skipped in 1977. “She had previously worked with Sanjay Gandhi ji and was near Indira Gandhi ji, but in 1977 she jumped off the ship and contested from Chandigarh against the congressional candidate,” he said.

“And look who issued an exhibition notice to me, Tariq Anwar, a man who switched to the NCP and demanded that a woman of foreign origin could not be the prime minister,” Mr Jakhar added.

With a whip at the congressional brainstorming session, he said it was nothing more than fulfilling a “formality”. “The party is facing an existential crisis and we are acting as if the country’s responsibility is on our shoulders. As they say, there are many ideas to decorate the house, but first decide how to save it.”

He spoke in support of the US Alliance for Democracy, but said that maintaining some independence was not the answer. He congratulated the voters of the state for not falling for the “poisonous seed sown” by congressional leaders.

“I would urge Sonia Gandhi to do politics across the country, but save Punjab, it has seen many dark days. Punjab is one,” he said.

“You did not break ties with me, you broke my heart, you issued a notice, were you all ashamed to talk to me? I would have given all the answers,” he added.

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