The power tussle between two Punjab Congress heavyweight leaders in Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu has decisively swung in the latter’s favour. Sidhu on Wednesday, in an apparent show of strength, coalesced 62 of the 77 MLAs of the party at his residence and later paid obeisance at the Golden Temple, a day before assuming charge of the President of the state unit.
Winds of Change – Of the People By the People For the People | Chandigarh to Amritsar | 20 July 2021 pic.twitter.com/CRBQLqMJk2
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) July 21, 2021
About 62 MLAs arrive at Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu's residence in Amritsar: Sidhu's Office pic.twitter.com/G03RiYcNSy
— ANI (@ANI) July 21, 2021
Reportedly, Sidhu had sent an invitation to all 77 Congress lawmakers but 62 turned up, leaving the Captain camp with merely 15 MLAs. Among the prominent ministers who reached Sidhu’s house were Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Charanjit Singh Channi and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria besides the outgoing state unit chief Sunil Jakhar.
The opposition in BJP savouring the fallout within the Congress party enjoyed its popcorn while tweeting, “Game on. Sidhu 62, Capt 15,”
सिद्धु 62 पर कैप्टन 15 परhttps://t.co/Yg0WNU9b3u
— R P Singh: National Spokesperson BJP (@rpsinghkhalsa) July 21, 2021
On Sunday, going against the demands of Captain, the Congress high command elevated Sidhu to the post of President in the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC). To ensure that the promotion was not granted to Sidhu, Captain had earlier written a letter to party President Sonia Gandhi and iterated that “forcibly interfering” with the working of the Punjab government could have serious implications. The letter read, “The party and the government may both have to bear the consequences of such a move,”
Read More: Could Captain Amarinder Singh join the BJP?
Sidhu has always been extremely vocal against the Punjab government’s functioning and especially Captain Amarinder Singh. Even after being stripped of his cabinet minister post, Sidhu continued the attacks on Amarinder and in the last few months, through a barrage of Twitter and Facebook posts, he has miffed Captain to such an extent that the two time CM is not willing to face Sidhu unless he apologises.
Reported by TFI, such has been the level of acrimony between Captain and Sidhu that the former warned Sidhu that if he dares contest against the incumbent CM, he would lose his security deposit.
“I don’t know where he will go or which party he will join. Akali Dal is upset with him and BJP won’t accept him… so most likely AAP. If he wants to contest against me from Patiala he will meet the same fate as General JJ Singh, who lost his security deposits,” CM Amarinder Singh said in an interview.
The unruly show of strength by Sidhu to send a message across the board that ‘Winds of Change’ have started to blow should force Captain to look inward and think about his immediate political future. The state assembly elections are still a year away and with such animosity between two top leaders of the party, one reckons, the party is setting itself up for a big failure.
Sidhu with the backing of the Gandhi clan is clearly coming for Captain’s seat and the state CM has found himself in a corner, all alone. Thus, as argued previously by TFI, Amarinder could break away from Congress and form his new party. However, given the time limitation, such endeavour could prove to be a Sisyphean task and hence, with a more pragmatic approach he should switch flanks and join the BJP.