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Updated on: Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 10:42 PM IST

Punjab reels under Sidhu enigma

Punjab reels under Sidhu enigma | File Image

Punjab reels under Sidhu enigma | File Image

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Chandigarh: From a “strokeless wonder” his transformation to a big hitter in the international cricket arena came only after working hard at the nets. It took him months and plenty of sweat.

Unlike Amarinder Singh, Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation explanation on his Twitter handle on Wednesday provides no hints on his quitting the Congress and joining another party in the season of Aya Ram’s and Gaya Ram’s in Punjab.

“Politics in Punjab has been turned upside down from Sidhu’s appointment as Congress state chief to his resignation. Every party in the state feels affected. Every party now believes it has a chance to take a shot at the chief minister’s chair in the forthcoming polls,” a senior Congress office-bearer said.

Unlike dethroned Amarinder whose meeting with BJP leader Amit Shah has put all speculation to rest that he will quit the grand old party soon and help piggy-ride the saffron outfit to victory in the forthcoming polls, or float his own party and make the BJP its ally, Sidhu has so far not even hinted at resigning from the Congress.

In a message on his Twitter handle, Sidhu said that he had fought for justice and Punjab’s agenda for 17 years. “Today, there is compromise with issues. Tainted officers and ministers who were removed have been brought in again. Those who gave clean chit to the Badals (former chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal) are now entrusted with delivering justice,” Sidhu said.

“Plenty of money is needed to float a new party and contesting elections. Amarinder will need finance if he has to take on the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal in the elections. The only party believed to be flush with money is the BJP at the Centre and state unit of Congress, which is in power in Punjab. But will Amarinder be able to deliver Punjab to the BJP, what with the resentment over the farm bills?” asked a Charanjit Singh Channi loyalist.

As has been the case with Sidhu since his cricket playing days, he has kept his cards close to his chest. That Amarinder would hobnob with the BJP was an open secret after his removal with his supporters whispering loudly where the “Maharaja” was expected to go.

Apart from close aides, Sidhu continues to keep to himself his next course of action after feeling slighted over the induction of ministers and administrative officers without his approval. Channi has offered to hear Sidhu out of his ire, but has so far been met with stoic silence.

Will Sidhu join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and project Sidhu as its chief ministerial candidate? AAP sources said the step would be suicidal for the party. “The Sidhu drama is there for every Punjabi to see and the tussle in the Congress has become an issue for every party to encash during the polls. The party could also split,” an AAP leader remarked.

Interestingly, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal is on a two-day visit to Punjab and is yet to announce the chief ministerial candidate of his party.

Some Congressmen, however, feel that things would be sorted out sooner than later with Sidhu and a new state chief would be appointed.

“The Congress has braved many a storm in the country. The old must give way to the young. The churning taking place in the party will end soon to the satisfaction of all concerned,” a young Congress leader in the making, said with optimism.

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Published on: Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 10:42 PM IST
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