Navjot Singh Sidhu touts his Punjab Model in letter to Sonia Gandhi
Missive to Congress chief reflects differences with Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi
Days after meeting top party leaders including former party chief Rahul Gandhi in Delhi, Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday made public his letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in which he listed priorities for the State government to deliver upon and claimed that it was “Punjab’s last chance for resurrection and redemption”.
In his letter of October 15, Mr. Sidhu also sought an appointment with Ms. Gandhi to present before her “a Punjab Model with a 13-Point Agenda to be part of the Congress manifesto for the 2022 Assembly Elections”.
Mr. Sidhu also reminded the Congress president of the party’s 18-point agenda that was “given” to the last Chief Minister of Punjab and stressed that it was still relevant.
“The issues at Punjab’s heart as understood very well by you, and signified by the 18-Point agenda given to the last Chief Minister are equally relevant today. I stood for each point in that agenda through the responsibility vested in me of the organisation, keeping the executive under check, to be guardian of Punjab’s rights,” he wrote.
His latest letter, written just a day after he met Mr. Gandhi and All India Congress Committee’s (AICC) Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat in Delhi, indicates that Mr Sidhu’s differences with the Charanjit Singh Channi government persist despite his public statement earlier that “everything has been sorted”.
The Punjab Congress Chief said the people of Punjab demand justice for the 2015 police firing at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan in Faridkot following the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib during the previous SAD-BJP regime.
On the drugs issue, he said, “The big fish mentioned in the STF [State Task Force] report must be immediately arrested and given exemplary punishment.”
While he asked the people of Punjab to reject the “three black farm laws” at any cost, Mr Sidhu said the State government must release a white paper on power purchase agreements (PPAs) and cancel “all faulty PPAs as promised by us”.
“It might be the last damage-control exercise or else, mafia-raj ruling the State, patronised by the Badals will take the State to the extent of financial emergency, corruption and agrarian crisis from which there will be no return”.
“Thus, I request you kindly consider these points and give your august direction to the State government to act in the best interests of the people of Punjab immediately,” the letter said.
The latest letter comes less than a month after the cricketer-turned-politician sprang a surprise on his party by posting his resignation as the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) on Twitter on September 28 to protest the appointment of the new Punjab Police chief and the Advocate General. The resignation came just days after Captain (retd.) Amarinder Singh was removed as chief minister ending a long-running feud with Mr. Sidhu.
He also had some strong reservations some portfolio allocations to ministers after the formation of the Channi cabinet.
During the meeting with Mr. Rawat and general secretary (organization) K.C. Venugopal, Mr. Sidhu is said to have raised the 18-point on which action was pending including against those involved in the sacrilege issue and the drugs mafia.