New Delhi: It was not an easy task for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi to pick the Chief Ministerial candidate for Punjab as any decision on whether it was to be Charanjit Singh Channi or Navjot Singh Sidhu was going to disappoint the other person.
But Rahul is said to have played his cards well and until the last minute kept both camps of Channi and Sidhu in suspense. The Congress leader relied on one plank:
goal'' Vsambition.” Both Channi and Sidhu were ambitious but the party’s goal was to capture Punjab state on March 10, when the assembly elections results are declared.
Sunil Jakhar, former President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee played a pivotal role in giving Rahul the inputs which helped the latter take the decision finally to announce Channi as the CM candidate. Jaķhar told Rahul that in the absence of unity and purpose, the Congress prospects in Punjab coming to power were bleak. Sidhu’s constituency Amritsar East where he is facing a three-cornered fight was given as an example. To win this seat the support of Dalits and Hindus was necessary and with the state having the maximum number of scheduled caste votes, Channi as the face would help.
The other concern was the rise of the Aam Aadmi Party in Punjab, which has announced its CM candidate. If the party does well in Punjab, this would have an impact on states going to polls later this year and in 2023 which include Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and Karnataka.
With Rahul putting an end to the suspense on the CM candidate in Punjab, its said the Congress circles are happy that he and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra are emerging as successful trouble-shooters. This would also strengthen Rahul’s case to be projected as the next President of the Congress, whenever, organisational elections are held.