In a balancing act ahead of the 2022 Punjab Assembly polls, Navjot Singh Sidhu is likely to be appointed as the Punjab Congress president, sources told Republic TV on Thursday. While Captain Amarinder Singh will be retained as the Chief Minister, this is perceived as a big setback as Sidhu has openly criticised his style of functioning. Sources revealed that the Punjab CM is dead against such a proposition.
Sources also indicated that working presidents from the Jat Sikh, Hindu, and SC/ST community might be appointed as a truce formula. This proposal is under serious consideration to placate Singh and stop him from resigning as the CM. This development comes even as senior Congress leader Kamal Nath is meeting party president Sonia Gandhi in the national capital. Previously, sources hinted that Nath is the frontrunner to become the next Congress president. A 9-time parliamentarian, he failed to save his government in MP after 22 Congress MLAs resigned.
Captain (Amarinder Singh) & Sidhu (Navjot Singh) will work together: Congress General Secy in-charge of Punjab, Harish Rawat to ANI— ANI (@ANI) July 15, 2021
A formula has been made around this, we have also made formula for the Working Presidents: Harish Rawat on if Sidhu would be Punjab Congress chief
Navjot Singh Sidhu has been repeatedly attacking the state government and the Punjab CM over the purported delayed justice in the incidents of desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib and the subsequent police firing incident. Though Singh and Sidhu attempted to resolve their differences over tea on March 17, 2021, a positive outcome proved to be elusive. The relationship took a turn for the worse after the Punjab & Haryana HC quashed the SIT probe into the firing cases on April 9.
Breaking his silence on Sidhu's attacks, Singh on April 27 dared him to contest from Patiala in the 2022 polls and predicted that he will lose his deposit. Furthermore, he contended that Sidhu wanted to join some other party. In order to end factionalism in the party's Punjab unit, Congress president Sonia Gandhi formed a committee comprising Rajya Sabha LoP Mallikarjun Kharge, ex-Delhi MP JP Agarwal, and AICC general secretary in charge of Punjab Harish Rawat on May 28.
Since the last month, the panel has met multiple stakeholders including MLAs, Ministers and the CM to ascertain their views ahead of the 2022 Assembly election. However, the attempts to mollify him seem to have failed for the time being as he hit out at the Punjab government in a series of interviews on June 20. In a veiled dig at Amarinder Singh and the Badals, he hit out at "two powerful families" whom he accused of controlling Punjab and overriding the interests of the state for their vested interests. After meeting Sonia Gandhi on July 6, Singh said, “Whatever the Congress President decides on Punjab, we will accept it".