After the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) took the lead in announcing Bhagwant Mann as its chief ministerial candidate for the forthcoming elections, the clamour for the Congress to follow suit is increasing, with leaders seeking clarity from the high command on who is leading them into the polls.
On Wednesday, senior Congress leader and Local Bodies Minister, Brahm Mohindra, urged the party high command to declare the CM candidate in Punjab.
“There should not be any confusion in the party about announcing the chief ministerial candidate when there is already one who proved himself beyond everybody’s expectations,’’ Mohindra said in an apparent hint at Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s performance a in the last three months.
The minister pointed out that it is the Congress party that had set the tradition of declaring the chief ministerial face ahead of elections in 2012 and 2017. “It should continue with that tradition and announce the candidate sooner than later,” he said.
Mohindra observed that it had become all the more important when the Aam Aadmi Party had announced Bhagwant Mann as its CM candidate and Shiromani Akali Dal-Badal had already been projecting Sukhbir Singh Badal as its CM face.
“Under such circumstances, the Congress cannot afford to leave any vacuum as it can prove detrimental to party’s interests,” he added. Speaking more vehemently to declare Channi as the CM face, another senior leader and Technical Education Minister, Rana Gurjeet, said that raising a question mark on Channi’s continuation as the CM after party comes back to power can prove hazardous.
“The issue was already settled for the Congress in Punjab three months back and there is no need for any further debates or discussions about it,” Rana said. “When you already have a chief minister who is doing a great job, why put a question mark about his continuing after winning the elections?” he asked, while asserting that it would be unfair to make Channi lead the party in elections and then keep suspense about his position in future.
Meanwhile, supporters of PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, including ministers, continue to maintain that the Congress should fight under a united leadership and ensure that the party comes back to power.