New Delhi, Jan 30 (PTI) Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has started discussions with party leaders and workers to pick its chief ministerial face in poll-bound Punjab, where it is seeking to retain power, party sources said on Sunday.
Gandhi is seeking responses from Congress leaders and workers through the party’s Shakti app, they said.
The opinion of common people on the issue will also be sought in a day or two, the sources said.
This comes days after former Congress president Rahul Gandhi announced at a virtual rally on January 27 that the party would go with a chief ministerial face in the Punjab elections.
Over the past several weeks, Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu have, directly or indirectly, made a case for themselves to be declared as the party’s chief ministerial candidate.
The Congress is putting its weight behind Channi, who belongs to the Scheduled Caste community.
SCs and STs have been a traditional vote bank of the Congress, but they drifted away from the party following the emergence of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and some other small groups.
The Congress is now seeking to consolidate the SC vote bank, which comprises almost one-third of Punjab’s population, by choosing Channi to replace former chief minister Amarinder Singh.
A three-time MLA from Chamkaur Sahib, Channi is the first Dalit chief minister of Punjab.
The Congress has fielded him from two seats — Chamkaur Sahib and Bhadaur — in the state assembly polls that will be held on February 20.
He is the only party candidate to be fielded from two seats. The Congress has followed the ‘one family, one seat’ formula in allocating tickets to its candidates in Punjab.
The Congress is pitted against the AAP, the SAD-BSP and the BJP that has joined hands with Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa’s Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt). PTI SKC DIV DIV
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Source: The Print