After Sunil Jakhar’s resignation, focus on loopholes in Punjab Congress committee
With Veteran Congress Leader Sunil Jakhar left the party on Saturday, the existing flaws in the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) were once again exposed. Former State Congress Speaker Navjot Singh Sidhu came out in support of Jakhar shortly after the former CCP chairman announced his decision in a Facebook live stream, while the current the party’s head of state, Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, lashed out at him.
Calling Jakhar “an asset worth its weight in gold,” Sidhu tweeted on Saturday: “Congress shouldn’t lose #suniljakhar… This is an asset worth its weight in gold… Any difference can be resolved on the table”.
Dalit Congress leader and former lawmaker Raj Kumar Verka – who first publicly criticized Jakhar and demanded his expulsion, before reversing his position and calling for unity – said the former leader’s resignation of the CCP was a “sad day” for the party. “As a true soldier of Congress and Rahul Gandhi I will only say one thing that on one side the Chintan Shivir is going on in Udaipur, all top Congress leaders must do ‘chinta’ on Congress assets coming to an end.”
But Warring, Sidhu’s successor, said Jakhar was kicked out of the party because of “savage and unsubstantiated allegations against the party which gave so much to him and his family”.
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Acting Punjab Congress Speaker and former Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu said, “There is no doubt that all (Congress members) regard him (Jakhar) as a good person. But today the Congress party needs discipline. If a party leader has a grudge against another party leader, this should be conveyed on the party platform. Even if you want to leave the party, it should be done in a respectful manner.
Criticizing the veteran leader, a senior congressional official said, “He (Jakhar) has never been kind to anyone. While he was the head of the CCP, he did not go to the local level and did not organize any mass contact program. Someone told him from Delhi that many leaders in Punjab were in favor of him (like the face of CM) and he made a problem out of it. I don’t know what his plans are, but I’m sure not a single person will support him or accompany him wherever he goes.
The rise and fall of Jakhar
Jakhar was 48 when he entered the ballot box in the 2002 assembly elections. His father Balram Jakhar is the longest serving president of the Lok Sabha, served as governor of Madhya Pradesh and was close to the Gandhi family.
Sunil Jakhar has been called a reluctant politician, but managed to make people sit up and take notice because he didn’t dress like a career politician or talk like one. He fought for and won elections in his family’s pocket borough of Abohar and repeated the feat in 2007 and 2012.
Between 2012 and 2017, he was the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly. He suffered a surprise defeat in the 2017 Assembly polls at the hands of a local BJP councilor, but managed to bounce back by getting elected to the Lok Sabha that year from Gurdaspur in a by-vote returned. necessary by the death of actor-turned-politician Vinod Khanna. He lost to Gurdaspur in the 2019 parliamentary election to BJP’s Sunny Deol.
Following the decline of his electoral fortunes, Jakhar’s position in Congress became precarious. Ahead of the Punjab elections, Jakhar said the Congress leadership did not choose him as the main ministerial face because he is Hindu and, following the polling debacle, called the former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi of responsibility. Last month, the party’s disciplinary committee issued a show cause notice to him saying he was accused of making “disparaging statements against congressional leaders and also attributed grounds for the leadership to think along lines.” communities while deciding the direction of PLC Punjab”.
Jakhar also got in trouble with the National Scheduled Caste Commission, which ordered Jalandhar police to register an FIR against him for allegedly making objectionable comments about Dalits in a TV interview. Although Jahkhar did not name anyone, his remarks were interpreted as targeting Channi.
Jakhar did not respond to the party’s show cause notice, saying that instead of making it a “public show,” senior congressional leaders should have spoken to him.
Although he has held no position in the organization, the party last month stripped him of all positions for not moving from his post. “That’s what afflicts Congress,” Jakhar said Saturday. I don’t know the AAP, but the Punjab Congress has been demolished by party leaders sitting in Delhi who know nothing about Punjab, Punjabia and Sikhism.
Wishing the party “goodbye and good luck”, Jakhar questioned party chair Sonia Gandhi’s modus operandi and advised her to beware of “sycophants”. To revive the party, he called on the Gandhis to “lead by order” instead of being “misled” by those who “do not know the realities on the ground in Punjab”.
Lashing out at senior Congress leader and Sonia’s adviser, Ambika Soni, Jakhar said she was a “stain on Punjab, Sikhs and Sikhs” and “defamed and insulted the Hindu community” by creating a narrative that “Punjab will be on fire if a Hindu becomes prime minister”.