A battery of camera crew, visibly stunned MLAs and “worried” supporters have turned Navjot Singh Sidhu’s parental house in Patiala’s Yadavindra Enclave into a political hotspot, which is seeing a flurry of activity post his resignation shocker earlier in the day.
Sources said that half a dozen Punjab Congress MLAs and some local party leaders reached Sidhu’s house late Tuesday evening. Few more, including Raj Kumar Verka, are also expected to reach and talk to Sidhu to convince him into taking back his decision.
Senior party leaders, including Kuljit Nagra, Inderjit Bularia, Razia Sultana and Kulwinder Danny, are holding meetings with Sidhu on the first floor of the house at present. Pargat Singh, who reached Sidhu’s residence at around 8 pm, went directly to the first floor, the venue of the meeting, to talk to the sulking leader.
The Sidhu camp hopes that about 50-odd party leaders should submit their resignations before the party high command from his Patiala house as a show of strength. Reliable sources said that the MLAs have told Sidhu that his resignation could trigger major factionalism in Majha, Malwa and Doaba regions, where Congress leaders have been already miffed over cabinet expansion.
Among others present at Sidhu’s house were Bawa Henry, Sukhpal Khaira, Kulbir Zira, Nirmal Singh Sutrana, Barinder Meet, Singh Pahda, Pirmal Khalsa, Jagdev Singh Kamalo, Inderveer Bularia and Raja Warring.
Sidhu, who was appointed the Punjab Congress chief in July, tendered his resignation from the post earlier in the day, sending shockwaves across the state’s political circles.
In his resignation letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Sidhu said he “can never compromise on Punjab’s future and the agenda for the welfare of Punjab”. His resignation comes amid reports of a rift with new chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi over his cabinet, especially the inclusion of ‘tainted’ MLA Rana Gurjit Singh.
Hours before Singh’s induction on Monday, a section of Congress leaders from the state had also written to Sidhu demanding that the tainted former minister not be included. The leaders also demanded that the cabinet berth may instead be filled up by giving representation to a clean Dalit leader.