New Delhi: Amid continued infighting in the Punjab Congress, former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday met party chief Sonia Gandhi at her residence in New Delhi. The meeting comes ahead of the party’s Punjab unit revamp and amid reports that Sidhu may get a key role in the organisation.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and party in-charge of Punjab affairs, Harish Rawat also attended the meeting with Sidhu, sources said.
According to sources, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has expressed his resentment over Sidhu being given a key role. AICC general secretary Rawat had, however, denied such reports.
Rawat had maintained that the central leadership was working out a peace formula where both Singh and Sidhu could work together to help the party win in the Punjab Assembly polls next year.
“Captain (Amarinder Singh) & Sidhu (Navjot Singh) will work together,” Congress General Secretary in-charge of Punjab, Harish Rawat said to ANI on Thursday. Claiming to have solved the ongoing friction between the two, Rawat had said, “A formula has been made around this, we have also made formula for the Working Presidents,” he had added when asked if Sidhu would be Punjab Congress chief.
Both the leaders are at loggerheads with each other and have made public statements against each other. Sidhu has been attacking him on issues like the alleged delay in the completion of a probe into the 2015 desecration of Sikh texts and the subsequent police firing on protesters.
During the ongoing power crisis in Punjab, Sidhu recently hit out at the opposition on July 10–Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), and indirectly attacked Capt Singh, as he currently handles the power ministry in the state.
Amid reports that Navjot Singh Sidhu, a Jat Sikh, is likely to be appointed as Punjab Congress chief, senior party leader Manish Tewari on Friday gave details of the composition of the state’s population, appearing to bat for a Hindu face for the post. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is also a Jat Sikh.
His party colleague Pawan Dewan asked Congress about the representation of the Hindu community on key posts in the state unit.
Tewari, who is an MP, in a tweet cited Punjab’s demography and mentioned that Sikhs constitute 57.75 per cent of the population while Hindus and Dalits constitute 38.49 and 31.94 per cent respectively.
“Punjab is both progressive and secular… but balancing social interest groups is key. Equality is the foundation of social justice!” he said in the tweet and tagged the Congress and the party’s in-charge of Punjab affairs, Harish Rawat.
Demographics of Punjab:
1. Sikhs : 57.75 %
2. Hindus : 38.49%
3. Dalits : 31:94 % (Sikh&Hindus)
Punjab is both progressive & SECULAR.
ਹਿੰਦੂ ਤੇ ਸਿੱਖ ਦਾ ਨਹੁੰ-ਮਾਸ ਦਾ ਰਿਸ਼ਤਾ ਹੈ!
balancing SOCIAL INTEREST GROUPs is key
बराबरी सामाजिक न्याय की बुनियाद है!
— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) July 16, 2021
Notably, both Singh and Sidhu have held parallel meetings in Chandigarh with their loyalists.
While the chief minister has met some party MPs, MLAs and ministers, Sidhu is learnt to have met Punjab ministers Sukhjinder Randhawa and Tript Rajinder Bajwa, and some MLAs close to him at Randhawa’s residence.
(With inputs from PTI and ANI)