Former Union Minister Ashwani Kumar welcomed the decision of the party high command to appoint Navjot Singh Sidhu as the Punjab Congress chief on Sunday. According to him, both Sidhu and CM Amarinder Singh will lead Congress to victory in the 2022 Punjab Assembly polls. Meanwhile, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Pawan Goel and Kuljit Singh Nagra shall serve as the working presidents of the state unit.
He remarked, "The decision of the Congress High Command to appoint Navjot Singh Sidhu as the new party chief in Punjab should now be gracefully accepted by all in the interest of party unity. This is a time to be united. There are no victors or losers. Reconciliation is the way forward."
The ex-parliamentarian argued that the Punjab CM and Sidhu need to pull together for fighting the "ideological battle". Stressing that perfect solutions are impossible, he noted that the silent majority in Congress is in favour of unity. As per sources, Amarinder Singh wasn't personally informed about the appointment of the former swashbuckling batsman.
Navjot Singh Sidhu will be an asset to Congress & forthcoming (assembly) elections along with Captain Amarinder Singh, who is the CM of Punjab & is an eminent leader of the party. Both will lead the party to victory: Former Union Minister & senior Congress leader Ashwani Kumar pic.twitter.com/7R2jBtkx8l— ANI (@ANI) July 18, 2021
Navjot Singh Sidhu was 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. 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".
A day earlier, 10 Congress MLAs- Harminder Singh Gill, Fateh Bajwa, Gurpreet Singh GP, Kuldip Singh Vaid, Balwinder Singh Laddi, Santokh Singh Bhalaipur, Joginderpal, Jagdev Singh Kamalu, Pirmal Singh Khalsa and Sukhpal Singh Khaira urged the high command not to let down the Punjab CM. Moreover, they supported Singh's demand that Sidhu should tender a public apology so that the party and government can function in tandem. They opined that Sidhu's public criticism had not only created a rift in the party ranks but also decreased the Congress graph in the last few months.