Congress is mulling appointing cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu as the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab- a move that the party thinks can settle things in the state unit ahead of 2022 assembly polls.
Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is expected to meet Sidhu over lunch on Wednesday- this would be second such meeting between the leaders. During the first such meeting that took place in November last year was seen as the first step to break the ice between the two sides. Singh had then said that he and Sidhu would continue to have cordial meetings.
A Times of India report stated that Sidhu as a deputy CM to Amarinder Singh is a combination that the party is seeking in Punjab. While Singh would be an automatic CM face besides being actively projected as one may ensure that the veteran does not mind the solution offered by the peace brokers, it added. The former minister is said to have a cordial relationship with Congress and this is the major factor why he is being seen as an effective campaigner.
The tension between Singh and Sidhu had come out in the open in May 2019 when the CM blamed the former cricketer for “inept handling” of the Local Government Department, claiming it had resulted in “poor performance” of the Congress in urban areas in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Sidhu was stripped of key portfolios in a cabinet reshuffle, after which he resigned from the state cabinet. And ever since, Congress has been trying to broker a compromise.
The TOI report quoted sources saying, Sidhu is important enough to be given something that will placate him while not upsetting the state leadership. Lately, Sidhu has been criticizing the incumbent state government for not crafting alternative bills to neutralise the Centre’s contentious agri bills. These statements came out as a dissident’s message to the party that he was still unhappy with what happened in 2019.