In what seems to be an attempt to show power in Punjab, the state Congress chief, Navjot Singh Sidhu, on Tuesday invited around 50 MLAs and Ministers for his visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Notably, the newly appointed Congress President did not send an invite to Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh and his associates. Navjot Singh Sidhu has been personally visiting Congress MLAs since his appointment as the party's Punjab unit chief.
Earlier, former cricketer, Navjot Sidhu had talked about "Congress family" in multiple statements but did not mention Punjab CM. On July 20, Sidhu had posted an emotional video, where multiple videos of Sidhu hugging, celebrating his success were collated with the caption "In line of duty | Punjab Congress Family | July 19, 2021".
Ministers and senior leaders including Sunil Jakhar, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhjinder Randhawa, Charanjeet Singh Channi, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, and Razia Sultana were highlighted in the sentimental video.
In line of Duty | Punjab Congress Family | 19 July 2021 pic.twitter.com/f84kyinC4z— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) July 20, 2021
Ending days of anticipating and tussle within the state party unit, Sonia Gandhi on Sunday evening appointed MLA Navjot Singh Sidhu as the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Navjot Singh Sidhu will be replacing outgoing PPC President Sunil Jakhar. This decision by the Party's Interim President comes as a major setback to Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh and several other party leaders, who had unanimously opposed the decision to elevate Sidhu in the state unit ahead of the 2022 state Assembly elections.
"AICC President Sonia Gandhi has appointed Navjot Singh Sidhu as the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee with immediate effect," read an official release issued by party general secretary KC Venugopal.
The decision to appoint Sidhu as PPC President comes after months of deliberations and infighting within the state party unit of Congress. However, Captain Amarinder Singh still continues to vehemently oppose the appointment of Navjot Sidhu as the Punjab Congress chief. The Chief Minister has also demanded a public apology from the cricketer-turned-politician for his slanderous tweets against his government of the state.
Compromising its relations with Captain Amarinder Singh, who led the party to victory in the 2017 Punjab Assembly elections, Congress has decided to put its weight behind Navjot Singh Sidhu for the upcoming 2022 polls. Sidhu, who had resigned from the Punjab Cabinet in 2019, has been at loggerheads with Punjab CM Amarinder Singh and has been repeatedly attacking the state government over a score of issues. Though Congress High Command has intervened to solve the crisis, the outcome has remained elusive.
Sources had earlier informed that the Punjab CM wanted someone from the Hindu community to lead the party as he and Sidhu both are Jat Sikh and similar sentiments were echoed by the senior party leaders as well. However, AICC in-charge of Punjab Harish Rawat flew down to Chandigarh on Saturday to meet Amarinder and convince him of Sidhu's elevation as Punjab Congress chief. After meeting Rawat, Amarinder reiterated that he would honor the decision made by the Congress chief.