NEW DELHI: Navjot Singh Sidhu
’s mega Amritsar show has pleased the Congress
leadership which believes that its decision to appoint the cricketer-turned politician as Punjab party chief has been accepted by the cadre, crucially by MLAs who turned up in good numbers.
It is learnt that Sidhu will attend the PCC
office on Friday with leaders invited in large numbers. But the force with which Sidhu has gone ahead after his appointment contrasts with the vehement opposition from CM Amarinder Singh
who is insistent that his critic apologise for his derogatory tweets.
The demand has till now been met with stone-cold silence. The vertical split between the CM
and the state unit chief, complicated by the stand of 10 MPs against Sidhu, has created a piquant situation and the parallel tracks from the two state Congress heads have to meet somewhere for the party to move ahead with preparation for the 2022 election campaign. Pressure is rising on the CM to relent on his insistence on apology and accept Sidhu. Many believe that unless a meeting point is found, one of them will have to “either give in or step away”. This has been behind the repeated speculation about the CM’s resignation, which has been denied. Given that Congress leadership has not signalled any move to replace Singh as CM, party functionaries are at a loss to figure out how the situation would be resolved.
It is said the leadership may call Singh and Sidhu to the capital for a joint meeting, a move that again will revolve around the CM’s insistence that the new PCC chief tender an apology. As Sidhu moved ahead with rallying support with a clever move to invite partymen to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple on Wednesday, which is seen as above partisan politics, the turnout of MLAs actually turned into a bitter duel of competing claims. While the Sidhu camp said 62 MLAs joined him in Amritsar, the CM loyalists were insistent that the number was only 40, including three ministers. “How is the turnout of MLAs any issue when nobody asked them not to go. It should not be read as a vote for Sidhu or against Singh,“ an angry Congress functionary said.