Is the Congress cold shouldering Navjot Singh Sidhu?

Speculation is rife as no meeting took place between the Punjab Congress chief and the Gandhis

Updated - November 22, 2021 09:40 pm IST

Published - September 02, 2021 10:28 pm IST - New Delhi

A file photo of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu in Amritsar

A file photo of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu in Amritsar

In a sign of growing distance between the newly appointed Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and the party’s top leadership, Mr. Sidhu is said to have returned from Delhi without getting an appointment with the Gandhis.

The Punjab Congress chief had come to Delhi on Wednesday while the All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary for Punjab, Harish Rawat, was still in Chandigarh to interact with party leaders, including Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

There was no official word about the purpose of his Delhi visit but sources claimed Mr. Sidhu wanted to meet general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, whose support ensured him the top party post in Punjab, and former party chief, Rahul Gandhi.

However, no meeting took place between the Punjab Congress chief and the Gandhis, leading to speculation if they are cold shouldering Mr. Sidhu.

Though the party high command had hoped that Punjab in-fighting would come to an end with Mr. Sidhu’s appointment as the party chief, subsequent developments have proved quite the opposite.

Controversial comments on Kashmir by Mr. Sidhu’s adviser, Malwinder Singh Mali, embarrassed the party to such an extent that Mr. Rawat asked the Punjab Congress chief to remove him.

Soon after, Mr. Sidhu himself put the party in a spot when he claimed that there was no freedom in decision-making and he didn’t want to become a showpiece.

The Punjab Congress chief had also been constantly targetting the Amarinder Singh government over issues like the Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) and the drug mafia in the State.

As Punjab Congress moved from one controversy to another ahead of next year’s Assembly elections, Mr. Rawat was forced to issue a public statement that the high command had “not handed over the party to Mr. Sidhu but chosen him to lead.”

In a subtle hint, the AICC Punjab in-charge had also stated that Capt. Amarinder Singh will lead the party to victory in the polls.

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