Even as an entire nation was outraged over the breach of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s security, with non-BJP CMs like Naveen Patnaik condemning it, a day later it made for quite a spectacle watching Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi across TV channels. Channi downplayed the “inconvenience that may have been caused to Modi” whose entourage was stuck on the Ferozepur flyover for 15-20 minutes as a “small matter”. What compelled the Congress CM to conduct himself in such a bizarre fashion? Did Channi go overboard in order to score brownie points with PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu? Or, was he under pressure to compete against Sidhu to demonstrably prove his higher loyalty standards towards the Gandhi family? After all, Sidhu has been pressurizing the Congress high command to declare a CM face ahead of the assembly elections. Also, why else would a sensible Channi skip receiving Modi at Bathinda airport on the pretext that one of his staffers had tested positive for Covid and then follow it up, the very next day with a public interaction with people and the media, without any qualms whatsoever? Meanwhile, Punjab Congress campaign committee chief Sunil Jhakhar who flayed the way Channi handled the Modi visit has gone off to Sweden to attend to his ailing wife. As for the assembly tickets, sources say the screening panel had already finalized 82 of the 117 seats before Jakhar left. The remaining 35 seats will be finalized on January 8.