The infighting in the Punjab Congress is likely to continue even after CM Captain Amarinder Singh hinted that he will accept Navjot Singh Sidhu as the chief of the Punjab Congress. The CM has refused to meet the dissident Congress leader unless Sindhu apologises to him first.
On Saturday, the CM stated that he will abide by any decision of Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the appointment of the state Congress chief. This means that if the party high command appoints Sidhu as the chief, the CM will accept that decision. However, this does not mean the end of the problems inside the state unit of the Congress party, as Captain Singh is not willing to forget the derogatory comments made by Sidhu against him.
Captain Amarinder Singh has demanded a public apology from Navjor Singh Sidhu for his offensive comments and Tweets, and has refused to meet him until he receives the apology. Reportedly, the CM told this to Harish Rawat, the All India Congress Committee general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs.
Rawat is one of the three members of the panel set up by Congress president Sonia Gandhi to resolve the crisis in the party in Punjab. He held a meeting with Amarinder Singh to discuss probable names for state Congress chief, and urged him to hold a meeting with Sidhu. But the CM refused to meet him. A source in the party said, “Captain told the state in-charge that he will not meet Sidhu till he tenders a public apology for putting out hundreds of derogatory tweets and statements in the media against him.”
However, Amaridner Singh said that the appointment of the state party chief is the prerogative of the high command, and he will accept any decision taken by the party on the matter. ”Had a fruitful meeting with @harishrawatcmuk . Reiterated that any decision of @INCIndia President will be acceptable to all. Raised certain issues which he said he’ll take up with @INCIndia president”, tweeted the CM’s media advisor Raveen Thukral, quoting the CM.
Harish Rawat flew to Chandigarh on Saturday on a Punjab Govt helicopter to meet the party leaders in the state to resolve the issue. He told Amarinder Singh that he will be taken into confidence before taking any decision on the issue of state chief, but the CM refused to sit in a token meeting with Sidhu for sending an “all is well” message, unless Sidhu says sorry to him.
According to sources, the CM also told Rawat that he is not happy with the way the high command is dealing with the issue. He pointed out that premature announcements were made and stories were leaked to the media.
For the last several months, Sidhu has been attacking Amarinder Singh with various allegations. He has accused the CM of colluding with the Badals of Akali Dal, accused of running a mafia raj in Punjab, and alleged that the CM is not taking action against sacrilege cases. Although several state leaders are not happy with Sidhu for such public outburst against the own govt, the high command is not willing to take action against him, eyeing the elections next year.
Although the high command is in favour of appointing Sidhu as the party chief in the state, it has not been able to make the final decision due to strong opposition from Amarinder Singh, one of the seniormost members of the party.