Punjab turmoil snowballs into major crisis for Congress

The turmoil in its Punjab unit snowballed into a major crisis for the Congress party on Wednesday, with a group of senior leaders openly challenging the leadership of the Gandhi family, and the former Punjab Chief Minister Capt. (Retd.) Amarinder Singh exploring an arrangement with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Mr. Singh, who was removed as the Chief Minister of Punjab by the party at the instance of the Gandhi siblings, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, met Union Home MInister Amit Shah, although no statement was available from either side.

Former Union Minister Kapil Sibal, part of a group that is demanding elections and reforms in the party, told reporters at a press conference that, “in our party, at the moment, there is no president and one doesn’t know who is taking these decisions”.

His colleague, Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is part of the group of 23 letter writers, the ‘G-23’, seeking internal reforms, wrote a fresh letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to convene a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) for a debate on the state of affairs in the party, including the Punjab turmoil and desertions from the party.

Congress workers from Chandni Chowk, the constituency that Mr. Sibal has represented in the Lok Sabha in the past, protested outside his residence, holding placards with “get well soon” messages, even though there was no direct response from the party to the press conference.