Navjot Singh Sidhu, the newly appointed chief of Punjab Congress, showed brazen disrespect to chief minister Amarinder Singh during the announcement ceremony. The various factions of the party and CM Amarinder Singh tried to put a united face for the party by coming together during the announcement.
Sidhu spoiled the show as he stopped in front of Amarinder and swung his hands as if gesturing a bat swing to hit a ball for a sixer. This was clearly intended towards Amarinder and was a sign of disrespect.
Amarinder Singh tried to put a brave face and said, “Assi dono ikatthe chalange (We will walk together).”
However, Sidhu, who spoke after Amarinder Singh, made an indirect attack on him and the government and said, “I have discarded posts, Cabinet berths. Farmers are at this point sitting on the borders of Delhi, teachers and doctors are on the roads, conductors and drivers are on dharnas… These are the issues. The issue is the beadbi (insult) of my Guru. This presidentship is the hope of people that their issues will be sorted. Unless this is done and justice delivered to my Guru, this presidentship means nothing.”
On power purchase agreements, another issue he has been raising, Sidhu asked why the state should buy power for Rs 18 per unit, adding, “CM sahib, we have to sort out the issues. Only then we are Sikhs of the Guru.”
Reported extensively by TFI, Sidhu has been extremely vocal against the Punjab government’s functioning and especially Captain Amarinder Singh even when he was a cabinet-level minister — although he had to pay the price for it after he was ejected from the cabinet by the two time CM.
Amarinder had divested Sidhu of the Local Government and Tourism and Cultural Affairs Departments and allotted him the power and new and renewable energy portfolio. However, Sidhu had refused to assume the charge and resigned.
In the Congress party, the presence of Sidhu and Amarinder Singh reflects an uneasy truce. It is a well-known fact that the two senior leaders of the Punjab Congress have had polar views regarding many vital issues. Their inability to see eye to eye isn’t new.
On the invitation of Pakistan’s Foreign Office for the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan, Amarinder Singh had vehemently rejected the invitation by citing the continuous terror attacks from across the border. However, calling it a personal invite from a dear friend, Sidhu not only accepted the invitation but also attended the ceremony.
The state of Punjab goes into polls next year and Congress which has already seen its political map shrink by a considerable extent since PM Modi first came into power in 2014, is not willing to lose a state where it still has some sway. However, the uneasy truce between the two senior leaders suggests that either Amarinder Singh will walk out of the party, or he will throw Sidhu out. If the party loses the election, one of the two leaders will be out. And if the party wins the election and Navjot Singh Sidhu is made the CM, Amarinder Singh will walk out and join hands with any other party and will break Congress to come to power.