The crisis and factionalism that appeared to have been put to rest with the Congress high command going ahead with the appointment of Navjot Singh Sidhu as the state unit president resurfaced today. In an evident show of strength by both camps, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and newly appointed President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Navjot Singh Sidhu held parallel meetings. Notably, interim Congress president Sonia Gandhi yesterday appointed Sidhu as Punjab Congress chief despite opposition from CM Amarinder Singh. Sonia Gandhi also appointed four working presidents to assist Sidhu – Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Pawan Goel, and Kujit Singh Nagra.
While 11 MLAs met CM Singh at his residence, Navjot Singh Sidhu also held meetings with several party functionaries.
News 18 reported that those who met Singh included his trusted lieutenant Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu, Punjab Assembly Speaker Rana KP, Ministers Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, Bram Mahindra, MLAs Nirmal Singh Shatrana, Harminder Singh Gill, Hardyal Kamboj, Raj Kumar Verka, Madan Lal Jalalpur, Sukhpal Bhullar, and Navtez Cheema.
Meanwhile, Raveen Thukral, Media Advisor to the Punjab CM refuted reports that Singh had invited Congress MLAs & MPs from the state for lunch on July 21.
On the other hand, Sidhu today visited the residence of Punjab Minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa. Several leaders including Nagra and former party president Jakhar were present and they posed for group photographs as well.
While speaking to the media, Jakhar said that it wasn’t a formal meeting but an informal gathering over high-tea arranged by Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa to welcome Sidhu. “Party is united. We have a huge responsibility, people had given us a 2/3rd majority in 2017. It’s our duty to further strengthen the trust,” said Jakhar.
Notably, while Sidhu met many prominent Congress leaders today, a meeting between CM Singh and newly appointed PCC chief Sidhu is yet to happen. Capt Singh is yet to congratulate Sidhu over his elevation PPCC president, something that he had been demanding for a long time.
Sidhu has been a vocal critic of CM Amarinder Singh and has been attacking him over a range of issues.
Taking to Twitter after his appointment, Sidhu said that he will work along every member of the Congress family in Punjab to fulfil the mission of ‘Jittega Punjab’ as a humble Congress worker to give power of the people back to the people through the Punjab Model and High Command’s 18-Point Agenda. “My Journey has just begun,” he said.
Will work along every member of Congress family in Punjab to fulfil the mission of #JittegaPunjab as a humble Congress worker to Give Power of the People Back to the People through the #PunjabModel & High Command’s 18 Point Agenda … My Journey has just begun !!
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) July 19, 2021
While he thanked Congress, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi, CM Singh did not find any mention in his tweets.
While Opposition parties like Shiromani Akali Dal, Aam Aadmi Party and the BJP are preparing for the 2022 elections, the Congress is struggling with an internal rift that could hamper its winning prospects.