New faces likely in Punjab cabinet under CM Charanjit Singh Channi

By PTI

CHANDIGARH: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu said that he will be meeting Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi for talks on Thursday. The move comes a day after Channi reached out to Sidhu and offered to resolve issues through talks.

“Chief Minister has invited me for talks – will reciprocate by reaching Punjab Bhawan, Chandigarh at 3:00 PM today, he is welcome for any discussions!” Sidhu, who had on Tuesday resigned as the state Congress chief, said on Wednesday had raised questions over the appointments of director general of police, state’s advocate general and “tainted” leaders.

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The Punjab unit of the Congress is in turmoil after Amarinder Singh was removed as chief minister and its chief Sidhu resigned from his post ahead of the crucial assembly elections in the state early next year. Factionalism in Punjab Congress has come to the fore over recent appointments of the new cabinet and other top officials.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Channi had said, “I have spoken to Sidhu sahab over telephone today. The party is supreme and the government accepts the party’s ideology and follows that. (I told him that) You come, sit and talk. If you (Sidhu) feel there is anything wrong, you can point it out.”

When asked what was Sidhu’s response, Channi had said the leader told him that he would sit and talk, and would give him time for a meeting. Channi said his government will set up a team under a special prosecutor for fighting cases in courts.

“We are setting up a team of a special prosecutor and 10 members, and it will handle our (state government) important cases. A special team will be appointed. Therefore, there should not be any doubt on me. Everything will be transparent,” he said.

“Whatever feedback we got from colleagues and others and whosoever could be appointed, we appointed. But the decisions will be taken according to the people of Punjab. I have no objection or any ego in anything. I am very clear. If anything sends wrong message to people, I will not be rigid on it,” he said in an apparent reference to recent appointments.

The CM had said that he would never step back on issues for which he had been fighting, apparently referring to delivery of justice in the 2015 desecration cases.