As tension continues to simmer between Navjot Singh Sidhu and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, the Punjab Congress Chief is slated to meet AICC general Secretary K C Venugopal and state party in charge Harish Rawat on Thursday.
Rawat took to social media to inform about the meeting citing discussions on organisational matters related to the state unit. “Sh. Navjot Singh Sidhu, President Punjab Congress will be meeting me and Sh. Venugopal ji for discussion on certain organisational matters pertaining to Punjab Pardesh Congress Committee at Venugopal ji’s office on 14th October at 6 PM,’’ tweeted Rawat. Interestingly, Rawat’s announcement comes just a day after minister Razia Sultan, a staunch Sidhu loyalist who had tendered her resignation in support, decided to attend the cabinet meeting on Monday.
The meeting also comes at a time when suspense persists over the status of the resignation handed over by Sidhu to party president Sonia Gandhi about a fortnight ago. The resignation has neither been accepted by the party, nor has it been retracted by Sidhu. The differences between the two started when Sidhu was reportedly unhappy with the appointments of the Attorney General and Director General of Police. Sidhu had also expressed his displeasure about the induction of Rana Gurjit Singh in the cabinet, who Sidhu claimed had a `tainted’ past.
Not only were Sidhu’s demand overridden, and Channi allowed to have his say in the cabinet and the other appointments, the AICC tried backdoor manoeuvring to pacify Sidhu who was appointed as PPCC Chief in July end. “Sidhu has been given by the party whatever he demanded, he should now work toward the benefit of the party and ensue Congress’ victory in the forthcoming Punjab elections,’’ said a senior party leader and a former minister in the Amarinder cabinet. He said he should stop targeting his own government and work toward broadening the party base in the state.
Sidhu has off late even made his differences with the CM quite evident, he skipped the marriage ceremony of the CM’s son and remained absent during Congress party’s `Maun Vrat’ in Amritsar, though the reasons cited were his sudden visit to Vaishno Devi shrine and followed by the bad weather which prevented him from reaching Amritsar for the party’s protest rally. Even at the protest march led by Punjab Congress toward Lakhimpur Kheri, it was Sidhu who wanted to have the last word.