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Punjab must come back to ‘real issues’ that concern every Punjabi: Navjot Singh Sidhu

Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu. File.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday said the state must “come back” to its real issues that concern every Punjabi and future generations and asserted that it has a clear choice between "irreparable damage and the last chance for damage control".

He asserted that he will not let the real issues take a back seat.

Mr. Sidhu’s assertion comes amid the ongoing war of words between several Congress leaders from Punjab with former chief minister Amarinder Singh over the latter’s friendship with Pakistani journalist Aroosa Alam.

“Punjab must come back to its real issues that concern every Punjabi and our future generations.... How will we counter the financial emergency that stares upon us? I will stick to the real issues and not let them take a back seat!” Mr. Sidhu tweeted.

“The choice is clear between irreparable damage and the last chance for damage control.... Who will bring back state's resources to the state's coffers, instead of them going to private pockets?? Who will lead the initiative for resurrection our great state to prosperity," he added.

During his recent meeting with senior Congress leaders K.C. Venugopal and Harish Rawat in Delhi, Mr. Sidhu had raised his concerns over the 18-point agenda taken up by the leadership on which actions are pending.

These included action against those involved in the sacrilege issue and the drugs mafia.

Mr. Sidhu had written a letter to party chief Sonia Gandhi on October 15, and other issues flagged by him in his letter include illegal sand mining and transport, and stressed that those be resolved at the earliest.

In the letter, Mr. Sidhu had also flagged the issues which the government "must deliver upon" and said that it was the poll-bound state's "last chance for resurrection and redemption".

He had pitched for a "Punjab Model with a 13-Point Agenda to be part of the Congress manifesto for the 2022 Assembly Elections".

"Let the mist clear, reality shine like the sun upon the roadmap for revival of Punjab, shunning those who protect the selfish vested interests and focus only on the path that will lead to Jittega Punjab, Jittegi Punjabiyat and Jittega Har Punjabi (triumph of Punjab, Punjabiyat and Punjabis)!” he tweeted on Sunday.

Days after resigning as Punjab Congress chief, Mr. Sidhu had on October 15 said his concerns have been resolved and the party asserted that he will continue as the head of the state unit.

The resolution came after the cricketer-turned-politician met party leader Rahul Gandhi and raised his concerns.

In his letter to Ms. Gandhi, Mr. Sidhu reminded her of the party's 18-point agenda "given to the last chief minister" of Punjab and said that those were "equally relevant today".

He had 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.

Punjab goes to polls early next year and the Congress is eyeing to retain power in the state.

Mr. Sidhu had also touched upon the drugs issue in his letter, saying, "the big fish mentioned in the STF report must be immediately arrested and given exemplary punishment."

Mr. Sidhu had claimed that 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."

Mr. Sidhu had posted his resignation as state unit chief on Twitter on September 28. He was not happy with the appointment of the new Punjab Police chief and the advocate general, besides some portfolio allocations to ministers after the new cabinet formation.

Charanjit Singh Channi became the Punjab chief minister last month after the unceremonious exit of Congress veteran Amarinder Singh, who had been at loggerheads with Mr. Sidhu.

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