Monday, 17 January, 2022
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Congress veteran Ambika Soni declines Punjab CM’s post, says only a Sikh should hold it

Ambika Soni had emerged as one of the frontrunners for CM chair after Captain Amarinder Singh resigned, but in a Saturday meeting with Rahul Gandhi, she refused the role.

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New Delhi: Veteran Congress leader Ambika Soni has declined the party high command’s offer to become the next chief minister of Punjab after Captain Amarinder Singh’s resignation Saturday.

Speaking to the media in Delhi Sunday, Soni confirmed she had been offered the role, but had refused.

“I’ve declined the offer. The party’s exercise (to elect a new CM) is going on in Chandigarh with the general secretary and observers are taking the views of all MLAs,” the Rajya Sabha MP said.

Soni also said she believes the “Punjab CM face should be a Sikh”.

“This is a belief I have always held; Punjab’s CM should be a Sikh person,” she said.

Also read: Congress takes a leaf out of BJP’s playbook, seeks to change Punjab’s Captain

Meeting with Rahul Gandhi

The Congress is contemplating a succession plan after Amarinder Singh suddenly resigned citing “continued humiliation” Saturday.

Ambika Soni’s name emerged as one of the frontrunners to replace him. She held a meeting with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and organisation general secretary K.C. Venugopal Saturday evening, which went on long past midnight.

Sources said in the meeting, Soni made it clear that she isn’t interested.

The party high command believed the senior leader from Punjab  would have made for an “agreeable” figure to hold the CM’s chair in the six months leading up to the assembly polls in February-March. However Soni, who has been unwell for some time, wasn’t up for it.

As of now, the top contenders for the post remain former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chiefs Sunil Jakhar and Partap Singh Bajwa, and current minister Sukhjinder Randhawa. MLA, former minister and current state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu may also be considered.

The party leadership is trying to make up its mind about whether both the PCC chief and CM can be Sikhs, or would it be wiser to have a Hindu face as the CM given that Sidhu was recently appointed state chief, sources said.

(Edited by Shreyas Sharma)

Also read: ‘Humiliated thrice in last 2 months’ — Amarinder hands in resignation as Punjab CM


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