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Congress disciplinary panel issues notice to former Punjab unit chief Sunil Jakhar

Congress disciplinary panel issues notice to former Punjab unit chief Sunil Jakhar

Former Punjab Congress chief gets a week to reply to notice over statements he made during assembly election campaign and alleged recent remarks against former CM Channi

The disciplinary action committee (DAC) of the Congress on Monday issued a show-cause notice to former Punjab unit president Sunil Jakhar for his statements during the assembly elections and alleged recent remarks against former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi.

The committee headed by senior party leader AK Antony has given Jakhar one week to give his reply. All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Chaudhary had written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi last week, seeking action against the former Punjab Congress chief for his statements against the party in the media and various forums, according to a party leader.

DAC member secretary Tariq Anwar said the show-cause notice has been issued to Jakhar following the state in-charge’s letter. “The committee deliberated and decided to give an opportunity to him to explain his action. If the reply is not found to be satisfactory, action will be taken,” he told journalists after the meeting.

During the state elections, Jakhar had created a flutter in party circles by stating that he was rejected for the chief minister’s post for being a Hindu, blaming senior advisers sitting in Delhi for the decision. In another statement, he claimed that at the time of selection of then chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s successor, 42 of the 79 Congress MLAs had backed him and only two were with Channi, whom the party leadership picked for the post.

Chaudhary, in his complaint to the Congress president, is learnt to have pointed out the adverse impact of these statements on support for the party in the community not only in Punjab but also in neighbouring states. Jakhar was also accused of encouraging factionalism in the party. “The letter was referred to the AICC Disciplinary Action Committee by the Hon’ble Congress president for necessary action,” reads the show-cause notice.

There have also been demands for action from a section of party leaders who have accused Jakhar of using “derogatory language” against Channi and the Scheduled Caste community. Besides seeking action, former ministers Raj Kumar Verka and Gurkirat Singh Kotli, Phillaur MLA Vikramjit Singh Chaudhary, former MLA Lakhvir Singh Lakha and former district chief Rupinder Singh Raja Gill had demanded an apology from the former Punjab Congress president for remarks made in an interview to a TV channel.

However, Jakhar, who had not named anyone in his comments, said he can never think of making any adverse comments against any religion or caste. “Attempts are being made to distort my comments and give them a communal colour. I want to appeal to people who want to know the truth to watch the full interview. If anyone has been hurt by my comments, I express regret,” he said. A three-time former MLA from Abohar and ex-MP from Gurdaspur, Jakhar was the Punjab Congress president from 2017 to 2021.
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