The Congress today said it will fight Punjab elections under the leadership of Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and both will be faces of the party.
The Congress went into damage control after it came under attack from various parties over the statement of its general secretary in-charge for Punjab Harish Rawat that the party would go to polls with Navjot Singh Sidhu as its face.
Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the next Punjab assembly elections will be fought under the leadership of both Mr Channi and Mr Sidhu and attacked the BJP, Akali Dal, BSP and Aam Aadmi Party for insulting a Dalit chief minister.
He also questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP leadership why they had not named any Dalit as their chief minister and why they and other leaders of BSP, AAP and Akali Dal were undermining the young Congress Dalit leader.
“Our faces will be Charanjit Singh Channi and Navjot Singh Sidhu as also ordinary Congress workers and leaders who will be supporting them. If anybody says one or the other will be the face, intentionally or otherwise, it is being misinterpreted by the media,” he told reporters.
“I want to tell all our friends in the media, please, you also do not grudge the young Dalit leader and the role assigned him as chief minister of Punjab. He will be our face along with Navjot Singh Sidhu which is natural,” he said, alleging that Mr Rawat’s statement has been misinterpreted.
“We urge the BJP, Akali Dal, BSP and AAP to stop insulting Dalits and spread lies about them,” Mr Surjewala said.
He alleged that the BJP, SAD, AAP and BSP have “unwarrantedly, shamelessly and regrettably” attacked the candidature of Mr Channi.
“May I ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi that you have been in power for seven long years and in a dozen states, have you ever appointed a Dalit as chief minister of BJP? No,” he said, adding that Mr Channi is the only Dalit chief minister sworn in by the Congress party.