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Punjab Congress crisis: Harish Rawat to visit state soon; briefs Rahul Gandhi

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Google Oneindia News

New Delhi, Aug 28: Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat met party leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhi today. Rawat has sought to be relieved as the in-charge of party affairs in Punjab, citing Uttarakhand polls.

Harish Rawat

Rawat apprised Gandhi of the latest developments as factions supporting Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and state unit president Navjot Singh Sidhu engaged in a war of words.

"I have briefed him on whatever the situation in Punjab is," Rawat, also the in-charge of party affairs in the state, told reporters after meeting Gandhi here.

"In the next two-three days, I will visit Punjab and will meet party leaders. I will also meet Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh and PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu," he said.

The Punjab Congress finds itself as a divided lot a few months ahead of assembly elections, with Singh and Sidhu being at loggerheads. The infighting refuse to die down even after the former cricketer was appointed the PCC chief.

Sidhu has also urged the party leadership to give him freedom in decision-making, telling them that he does not want to be a dummy party chief.

He said this after one of his advisers -- Malvinder Singh Mali -- had to quit following pressure from the chief minister''s camp over his alleged controversial remarks on Kashmir.

After this, some dissident ministers and MLAs had met Rawat at Dehradun and demanded the chief minister''s removal.

However, Rawat made it clear that the next assembly elections would be fought under Singh's leadership.

The chief minister''s camp also sought action against Sidhu over Mali's remarks on Kashmir and Pakistan.

Rawat had said that to concentrate on the upcoming elections in Uttarakhand, it had been on his mind to seek to be relieved of the responsibility of the party's Punjab affairs in-charge.

"Yes, this is the reason," the former Uttarakhand chief minister told reporters in Dehradun on Thursday when asked if he has sought to be relieved of the charge as Punjab affairs in-charge so that he could concentrate on the polls in his state.

He added that he would abide by whatever direction is given to him by the party.

"If my party asks me to continue (as Punjab affairs in-charge), I will continue," said Rawat.

Punjab and Uttarakhand go to the polls next year.

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