Next year’s Punjab elections with a sinking Shiromani Akali Dal, a BJP with a negligible presence, the ever unpredictability and unreliability of the AAP, pretty much had all the signs of a walkover election where the Amarinder Singh government would return with a brute majority. However, the Indian National Congress, being true to its characteristics have somehow still managed to shoot itself in the foot as Navjot Singh Sidhu threatens to leave the party – not just alone, but with a group of dissenters.
While a certain Congress import just helped the saffron party deliver the state of Assam again, a former BJP leader is becoming a major cause of concern within the Punjab Congress.
In the past few weeks, out of nowhere, Sidhu has reemerged and has been taking on Amarinder Singh and his government as if he was the main opposition in the state. This has led Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu to indulge in a tug-of-war with both sides trying to get as many Ministers and legislators on their side as possible.
Navjot Singh Sidhu has been trying his level best to counter the influence of Captain Amarinder within the Punjab Congress. He recently met Cooperation and Jails Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa and Technical Education, Tourism and Cultural Affairs Minister Charanjit Channi to plan out the further pathway to mount pressure on the chief minister of the state regarding the Bargari sacrilege case and the subsequent police firing cases of Kotkapura and to initiate a clampdown on the alleged drug mafia. MLAs Partap Singh Bajwa’s brother Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa, along with Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, Balwinder Laddi and Barindermeet Singh Pahra were also said to be present during the meeting.
Unsurprisingly, the Punjab CM has more weight on his side with a battery of pro-Amarinder Ministers hitting out at Sidhu with some within the Punjab Congress vociferously advocating for his expulsion.
News 18 reported four Ministers as saying, “He should be immediately suspended, if not expelled, as his continued presence in Punjab Congress was creating a mess in the party’s state unit and diverting its attention from the more important task of gearing up for the polls.”
However, the fallout over the Kothiarpura firing case has been massive with an aggressive Sidhu pinning the blame on the Captain himself. It is being reported that Sidhu was trying to cobble up legislators who are miffed with how the Kothiarpura firing case has moved with some Congress leaders including some legislators who have already expressed concern over the High Court rejecting the SIT probe and constitution of a new probe team.
News18 reports that with open infighting, Congress sources believe that it was the ‘numbers’ both the camps were trying to cobble up to gain a political edge with just some months left for elections.
The Congress infighting might lead to Sidhu leaving the Congress party and joining a rival party in order to challenge Captain Amarinder Singh and the most viable option might be the Aam Admi Party for the Congress leader as he is trying to cut the influence of the sitting chief minister. And one thing is for sure that Sidhu might not leave alone. He will take his side of ministers with him giving congress a huge blow in the state of Punjab.
What was increasingly looking like a dead rubber election is fast turning on its head as former BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu threatens to vertically split the Punjab Congress in order to stake his claim for the Punjab CM.