Navjot Singh Sidhu has been a busy man lately. Not only is he making headlines, but he has also been craftily laying the groundwork to cement his position in the Congress and emerge as a strong adversary to Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
With speculation rife that Sidhu is being projected to take over as the party’s state chief, the former cricketer spent the entire first half of Saturday cosying up to senior leaders from the state while AICC general secretary and Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat, barely a few kilometres away, attempted to placate a fuming Captain who had on Friday warned of a split in the party if Sidhu was promoted.
Sidhu said after the meeting with leaders from the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, including Punjab party chief Sunil Jakhar, that “conversations with wise men were worth months of education".
“Seeking guidance of Presidents of the illustrious Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee … Conversations with wise men, worth months of Education !!," Sidhu said in a tweet, as he shared his pictures from the meeting with the leaders, including Punjab party chief Sunil Jakhar.
Seeking guidance of Presidents of the illustrious Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee … Conversations with wise men, worth months of Education !! 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/Tq5uqkbp6m— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) July 17, 2021
The leader left his residence in Patiala on Saturday, and met Punjab party chief Sunil Jakhar in Panchkula, barely 11 km from Chandigarh, where state AICC in-charge Harish Rawat’s landed earlier in the day. Pictures of the two leaders hugging each other surfaced on social media. Jakhar termed this meeting as a courtesy call. Describing the visit as a welcome sign, the unit president said that the party has to put a united face in the 2022 assembly elections.
Sidhu has been at loggerheads with Amarinder Singh, as he attacked him over the alleged delay in justice in the 2015 desecration cases. Singh, after meeting Harish Rawat, a day after he wrote a letter to Sonia Gandhi, making a case against giving Sidhu a key post in Punjab Congress, said that any decision taken by the Congress president will be acceptable to all.
Rawat had flown down to Chandigarh as tensions escalate in the Congress’ Punjab unit over differences between Amarinder and Sidhu. The chief minister was later quoted by his media adviser as saying that he had a fruitful meeting with Rawat.
“‘Had a fruitful meeting with @harishrawatcmuk. Reiterated that any decision of @INCIndia Presdent will be acceptable to all. Raised certain issues which he said he’ll take up with @INCIndia president,’ @capt_amarinder," the official tweeted. Rawat had reached Chandigarh in a chopper around 12 noon and went straight to the chief minister’s farm house in Mohali.
The visit is being seen as an effort to placate Amarinder Singh, who wrote a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday. He is learnt to have said that giving the post of state party chief to Sidhu, a Jat Sikh, would upset the party’s senior leaders representing the Hindu community and harm the party’s prospects in the 2022 assembly elections.