Amid the power struggle between Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu over the declaration of the Chief Minister candidate, the Congress on Monday tweeted a video from its official handle projecting Channi as the next CM.
The video shot with agricultural fields in the background, has Bollywood actor-turned-philanthropist Sonu Sood saying the real Chief Minister is the one who is brought to the chair, not the one who has to struggle to reach there, and he does not have to tell that he is the CM candidate and that he deserves it. He should be a back-bencher, he is brought to the forefront and told that he will be the CM. That person can bring about a change.
The 36-second video has Channi appearing in it 12 times for 18 seconds. There is no other leader seen in the video except Amritsar MP GS Aujla for a brief second. Sidhu does not appear in the video at all. Channi is seen walking, draping his shawl, and squatting on the floor eating makki di roti and sarson da saag.
बोल रहा पंजाब, अब पंजे के साथ- मजबूत करेंगे हर हाथ। pic.twitter.com/qQOZpnKItd
— Congress (@INCIndia) January 17, 2022
Sources in the Congress said that for now, the party was projecting Channi as the leader. “That is the reason the official handle of Congress tweeted the video. Channi is popular in the surveys. He has transitioned as a political leader ever since he was named the CM,” a senior party leader told The Indian Express on anonymity.
AICC secretary incharge Harish Chaudhary, however, said, “We will fight the elections on collective leadership. We have already said that.” To a question, if the decision could be changed, he said, “There is nothing permanent in politics. But the party has made it clear that the election
will be fought collectively.”
The video, that came a day ahead of the Aam Aadmi Party Chief’s scheduled announcement about their CM candidate on Tuesday, has created a furore in Punjab. A close aide of Channi said that the video was a message to Sidhu, who was pushing to be announced a CM candidate. “Do you think, what Sonu Sood is heard saying in the video that a natural CM candidate does not have to struggle is the real candidate.” A leader close to Sidhu at the same time said there was nothing much to read in the video.
The post comes on a day Cabinet minister Rana Gurjit Singh stated that Channi had done an exceedingly outstanding job during just three months. He said that raising a question mark about his continuation as the CM after party comes back to power can prove to be suicidal.
Interestingly, on Sunday, sitting MLA from Shahkot Hardev Singh Laddi Sherowalia also demanded that Channi should be announced the CM candidate. “It is a sustained campaign now. The leaders have seen the popularity of Channi. That is why these kinds of statements are appearing,” a leader said.
The issue of Chief Ministership 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 in a statement issued here today.
He regretted that confusing signals were being circulated about the fate of the Chief Minister when he was leading from the front and that too when elections have already been announced.
“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, it will be unfair to Charanjit Singh Channi to make him lead the party in elections and then keep suspense about his position
The senior Congress leader observed that the party had settled the issue of Chief Ministership in September itself when it appointed Channi as the Chief Minister. “He (Channi) rose to the occasion and instantly caught the mass imagination by giving in his best”, he remarked, adding, it will not only be politically unwise but suicidal to raise put question marks about his continuing as the Chief Minister of the state after winning the elections under his leadership.
“When you have ‘tried and tested’ CM, who had proved his mettle in a brief period of three months, why do you want to experiment with someone unknown and untested?” he asked, while urging the party high command to set all speculations to rest by making Channi’s position clear, which will be in the interest of the party.