New Delhi: It seems like a fresh rift is brewing up within Punjab Congress following Harish Rawat’s statement that the upcoming state assembly elections will be fought under state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu. Taking to Twitter, former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Sunil Jakhar came down heavily on Rawat and termed his statement ‘baffling’.Also Read - Amarinder Singh Likely to Announce Launch of New Political Party ‘Punjab Lok Congress’ Today

On the swearing-in day of Charanjit Channi as Chief Minister, Rawats’s statement that ‘elections will be fought under Sidhu’, is baffling. It’s likely to undermine CM’s authority but also negate the very ‘raison d’être’ of his selection for this position”, tweeted Jakhar.  Also Read - ‘Stop Talking About Secularism’: Amarinder Singh Slams Congress, Questions Alliance With Sena

Earlier on Sunday, after the Congress party announced Channi as the successor of Captain Amarinder Singh, Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat asserted that the upcoming state assembly elections will be fought under Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu who is “very popular”, given the state’s present political circumstances. Also Read - Captain Amarinder Singh To Form His New Party Ahead of Punjab Polls, Alliance With BJP Likely

Speaking to ANI, Rawat said, “It (Congress face for upcoming state assembly polls) will be decided by the Congress president, but given the circumstances, elections will be fought with the Chief Minister’s cabinet under Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, whose chief is Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is very popular.”

Furthermore, he stated that Congress had itself unanimously decided to make Charanjit Singh Channi the next Chief Minister of Punjab.

“The decision (to choose the new Punjab CM) was taken yesterday only. We were only waiting to meet the Governor. The party was unanimous on Charanjit Singh Channi’s name. We will try to ensure that he (Amarinder Singh) is there at oath-taking, but it’s up to him,” said Rawat.

Meanwhile, Channi, 49, is slated to take oath as Punjab’s 16th Chief Minister today, a few months before the 2022 assembly polls in the state.  Ahead of the oath-taking ceremony, Punjab Chief Minister-designate offered prayers at a Gurudwara in Rupnagar. Channi was seen driving to the gurudwara in his own vehicle.

Channi, a three-time MLA from Rupnagar’s Chamkaur Sahib – will be Punjab’s first Dalit Chief Minister.