Even though uncertainty shrouds the premature release of Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu from Patiala jail where he is serving a one-year sentence in a road rage case, his supporters on Tuesday put up posters and banners in Ludhiana and some other places to welcome the former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief upon his freeing.
While hailing him as “protector of Punjab", Sidhu’s supporters seem to have gone on an overdrive to ensure that his release from prison turns into a major political event.
Former MLA Rajinder Singh, son of senior Congress leader Lal Singh, has asked people to gather outside the Patiala jail on January 26 to welcome the cricketer-turned-politician.
The plans are being chalked out despite even his closest aide still being unclear about his release with some indicating that any clarity would come only on January 26.
Taking to Twitter, Surinder Dalla, media adviser to the former PPCC chief, wrote, “The guard of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiyat, Navjot Singh Sidhu, is coming soon.” He also shared a picture of Sidhu’s poster.
However, there is no official word on Sidhu’s release from chief minister Bhagwant Mann, who also holds the jail portfolio.
It is being speculated that Sidhu could be among 50 prisoners likely to be given special remission under the “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”. They were to be released in three phases: August 15, 2022, January 26, 2023, and August 15, 2023.
Sidhu is serving a one-year sentence and has completed about 68 per cent of this in jail without parole or furlough.
Senior party leaders are keeping their fingers crossed and are desisting from issuing a statement on Sidhu’s release.
Without referring to Sidhu, leader of opposition Partap Singh Bajwa had on Monday sought a clarification from Mann on whether the cabinet had approved the remission and forwarded the list of Punjab prisoners.
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