‘Good luck and goodbye’: Ex-Punjab Congress leader Jakhar quits the party | Latest India News

Chandigarh: “Good luck and goodbye Congress,” former Punjab Congress speaker Sunil Jakhar said on Saturday as he quit the party weeks after being removed from office for alleged anti-party activities.

Jakhar took to social media to make the announcement, which comes at a time when top Congress brass are gathered for a three-day Chintan Shivir (brainstorming session) in Udaipur, Rajasthan, to discuss the overhaul of the party and its strategy for the 2024 legislative elections.

“This is my parting gift to the party. These are my last words to members of Congress. Good luck and goodbye Congress,” Jakhar said during his “dil ki baat” on Facebook live from his residence in Panchkula.

The disgruntled 68-year-old leader originally planned to travel to Udaipur and hold a press conference. However, he did not comment on joining another party.

When contacted, the veteran leader said his goal was to show Congress the mirror.

Jakhar led the party’s Punjab unit for just over four years before being replaced by Navjot Singh Sidhu in July 2021. He had been at odds with the Congress ever since the party leadership sent him a show cause notice before removing him from all positions in April. 30 for “anti-party” activities in the run-up to this year’s legislative elections.

The disciplinary action was taken following Punjab affairs chief Harish Chaudhary’s complaint to Congress Speaker Sonia Gandhi that Jakhar’s statements had hurt the party’s prospects in the elections. February 20 meeting. He, however, dismissed the allegations and asked if his statements had harmed the party’s prospects in the election, why hadn’t he been sacked. The infighting Congress was routed by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Punjab and only managed to win 18 of the 117 seats in the assembly.

In his 35-minute social media harangue, former Lok Sabha MP Jakhar also shot several Congress leaders ‘sitting in Delhi’, particularly targeting Rajya Sabha member Ambika Soni for his statement of the last year that the party should adopt a Sikh face after Captain Amarinder Singh was forced to resign as chief minister. Until then, Jakhar was among the favorites for the post of CM.

Calling the Udaipur brainstorming session “formal”, Jakhar said the party was facing an existential crisis, but was behaving as if the responsibility for the entire nation rested on its shoulders. He criticized the party’s decision to set up commissions on issues such as foreign affairs, economy and agriculture, saying he should get his own house in order first. “It should have been a ‘chinta shivir’ instead of a ‘chintan shivir’, more about ‘worry’ than ‘introspection’. If they were really worried, another committee would have been set up on the polling debacles in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa,” he said.

Once considered close to party leader Rahul Gandhi, Jakhar said he was a very good and upright person and should take the reins of Congress into his own hands. “He should learn to tell the difference between friend and foe and to distance himself from sycophants. If you cannot distinguish between friend and foe, then understand that you have to distinguish between active and passive,” he said, stressing that the presence of the Gandhi family was necessary so that Congress operates as one party.

Jakhar also blamed former head of Punjab affairs and face of the party’s CM in Uttarakhand, Harish Rawat, for the Congress debacle, calling his defeat in the hill state a divine intervention. “Rawat was sent to destabilize Amarinder, who was well seated. Opposition parties usually try to destabilize,” he said, asking if the whole exercise was “controlled destabilization”.

Calling the Congress’s handling of party affairs in Punjab a “case study”, Jakhar also cited the example of Rajasthan’s chief minister, Ashok Gehlot, who he said must tell people all the 15 days that the CM would remain. He also expressed his displeasure at receiving notification from party leader Tariq Anwar, who he said was the person who branded Sonia Gandhi a foreigner in 1999 to protest her appointment as Congress leader.

Shortly after Jakhar’s announcement to leave Congress, party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu called him “an asset” and told his party not to lose him.

“Congress should not lose #suniljakhar…. Is an asset worth its weight in gold…. Any differences can be resolved on the table,” Sidhu said in a tweet.

Last month, the party’s head of Punjab affairs, Harish Chaudhary, sent another letter to Gandhi, recommending action against Sidhu for his “anti-party” activities.

The Jakhar family has been associated with Congress for almost five decades. His father, Balram Jakhar, who died in 2016, was a senior party leader who served as Lok Sabha chairman and Union minister. His nephew Sandeep Jakhar is currently a Congressman for Abohar in Fazilka district.

Joseph K. Bennett