Amid continued infighting in the Punjab Congress, former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday met party chief Sonia Gandhi at her residence in Delhi. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and party in-charge of Punjab affairs, Harish Rawat were also present, sources said.
The meeting comes ahead of the party’s Punjab unit revamp and amid reports Sidhu may get a key role in the organisation. After the meeting, Rawat said Sonia Gandhi is yet to take a final decision on the issue and he will share it soon after it is done.
Whether a decision to appoint Sidhu as Punjab Congress chief has been made, Rawat said, “Who says this?” “I had come here to submit my report on Punjab to the Congress chief and as soon as a decision is taken by the Congress President, I will come and share it with you,” Rawat said.
“Please read my statement very carefully and try and understand the words and their meaning,” he said.
Sources said Rawat may now be meeting Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to pacify him and work out a formula. About what transpired at the meet, he said, he cannot divulge details and whatever a state leader says to the Congress chief is between them. Sidhu, however, left Sonia Gandhi’s 10, Janpath residence without talking to the media.
Capt writes to Sonia, expresses reservation over Sidhu as state chief
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is learnt to have written to Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday expressing reservation over Navjot Singh Sidhu’s possible appointment as the state party chief. In another development, AICC general secretary and in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Rawat is likely to arrive in Chandigarh to meet Amarinder Singh on Saturday even as suspense over the much-awaited announcement from the Congress high command on the resolution of the infighting in the party's state unit continues.
Manish Tewari as Punjab Cong chief?
A day after Punjab’s AICC general secretary in-charge Harish Rawat, a former Uttarakhand CM, retracted his hints of rebel cricketer-turned-former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu as the Punjab Congress president, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh tried to scuttle his chances, pitching for a “Hindu” name for the post.
Singh said both he and Sidhu were the Sikhs and Jats and as such someone else who is not from their community better head the Punjab Congress to give representation to the Hindus and Dalits who are being wooed aggressively by the rival Akali Dal ahead of the Assembly poll early next year.
He is pushing the name of Lok Sabha MP Manish Tewari, a former union minister, for the post as both share a good equation and he got a support from Tewari with a tweet reciprocated that went viral. Tewari played up the “demographics of Punjab” pointing out that 57.75% are Sikhs, 38.49% Hindus while 31.94% are Dalits belonging to both Sikhs and Hindus. The tweet ended saying, Punjab is both secular as well as progressive.
Interestingly, Tewari is one of the G23 dissenters who last year annoyed the Gandhis by demanding a complete overhaul of Congress and its working style. Hence, the sources said Congress President Sonia Gandhi will be wary of anointing him as the Punjab Congress president.