The Congress’ central leadership is trying to rehabilitate cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu in Punjab for which deliberations are on between party state in-charge Harish Rawat and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
After Sidhu met party interim chief Sonia Gandhi in Delhi, Rawat has met the Chief Minister to convey the decision of the Congress leadership to the Chief Minister and rehabilitate former minister Sidhu in the state.
Speaking over phone from Haldwani, Rawat said Sidhu is a very important leader of the party and he will be accommodated soon in the state and his presence will strengthen the party.
The Congress in Uttar Pradesh has roped in Sidhu to hold Kisan Panchayats and wants that Sidhu should be given due importance Punjab. While sources say that Sidhu wants to be appointed as Punjab state Congress President but the Chief Minister is not willing to concede that post to Sidhu.
However Rawat said “both leaders will sit and talk and sort out differences and will find an amicable solution. My work to arrange meetings of both is over.”
Congress sources say that Sidhu is likely to made a minister in the state. Punjab is going to polls in 2022 and due to the farmers’ agitation against the farm laws the bargaining power of Sidhu has reduced, though the party doesn’t want to lose him due to his pan-India popularity and also because he is a popular star campaigner for the party.
Sidhu had resigned from as Cabinet minister in the state on July 14, 2019 after differences with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh over portfolio allocation. Sidhu was in-charge of local bodies but was then shifted to the Power Department.
However, the tension was simmering between the two leaders when Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur was denied a party ticket for the Lok Sabha election, said sources.
The Congress had won 77 seats in the 117-member state Assembly in 2017 after projecting Amarinder Singh as its chief ministerial candidate, only one short of the 78-mark required for a two-thirds majority.