As per The New Indian Express, cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu who has been a controversial figure in the recent past is likely to be appointed as the president of Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee (DPCC), after the former Delhi chief minister and senior Congress leader, Sheila Dikshit passed away. It must be noted that legislative assembly elections are due in a few months in Delhi. AAP and BJP have already started campaigning and now the Congress also seems to be bracing itself for yet another poll battle.
As per sources close to Sidhu, who had recently resigned as a minister in Punjab cabinet, met the grand old party’s general secretary, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, where the cricketer-turned-politician was offered the big position. He was given some time to think about it and now he is said to have accepted the offer. The news report also adds that sitting cabinet ministers who used to be very vocal in their criticism against Sidhu have suddenly gone silent as they do not want to annoy him further.
As per the report, Congress leaders are aware of Sidhu’s proximity to the Gandhi family and this is clearly working in Sidhu’s favour. Second rung leaders who had maintained distance from him till now, have now started visiting Sidhu. As per sources, even Amritsar MLA Raj Kumar Verka, who also happens to be the Chairman of Punjab Warehousing Corporation and was given cabinet status recently paid a “courtesy” visit to Sidhu at the latter’s residence.
It must be noted that throughout his tenure as a cabinet minister in the state of Punjab, Sidhu made headlines over his uncomfortable relations with the Punjab CM, Amarinder Singh. In fact, he was at loggerheads with the Punjab chief minister all the time and even went on to defy Singh on the sensitive issue of deteriorating Indo-Pakistan relations.
During the Kartarpur corridor inauguration, Punjab CM Amarinder Singh had asked Sidhu to reconsider his visit to Pakistan but instead of giving any heed to the CM or even the will of the people, he preferred to cross border in order to greet his friend, Imran Khan. Earlier this year the former cricketer had defied Singh once again when Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh had deputed four cabinet ministers of the state to attend the funeral of soldiers who were martyred in the Pulwama attack. However, state cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu defied CM’s order and instead of attending the funeral of Jaimal Singh in Moga, he went to a function of Ludhiana Municipal Corporation.
Recently, the long-brewing animosity between Navjot Singh Sidhu and Capt. Amarinder Singh turned into open hostility. In a cabinet reshuffle, Local Government and Tourism and Cultural Affairs portfolio was taken away from him and he was moved to what was seen as a less weighty portfolio of Power and New and Renewable Energy. Sidhu was not present during the cabinet meeting. The rift between Singh and Sidhu was wide open now. According to reports, Sidhu had met the Congress chief, Rahul Gandhi in a bid to ‘apprise’ him of the situation. He had also tweeted about the meeting. With this, it was clear that Sidhu enjoyed the support of the Congress high command. Now, that he seems to have been rewarded with the new offer, it has become clear that the Congress high command has rewarded Sidhu for openly defying the Punjab CM.