Chandigarh: Congress in-fighting in Punjab took a curious turn on Friday, when Chief Minister Amarinder Singh sought to reach out to some of his known detractors in the party in what is being seen as an attempt to ward off the challenge posed by the former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu.
A secret meeting between Captain Amarinder Singh and Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa has set the grapevine abuzz with new equations emerging in the faction-ridden party.
Bajwa, also the former state Congress President has been at loggerheads with the CM for many years now and was one of the contenders for the top post ahead of the last assembly polls.
Captain-Bajwa meeting is being seen in the context of old guards joining hands in the face of Sidhu emerging as the pole of dissension in Punjab Congress in a protracted face-off with the incumbent CM.
A three-member committee formed by the Congress High Command has given its report to Sonia Gandhi on the developments in Punjab, recommending that the cricketer turned politician be ‘adequately compensated.’
Reports suggest Sidhu is not keen to be inducted in the Amarinder cabinet as deputy CM. He would rather head the state Congress unit, a position which is currently held by Amarinder loyalists Sunil Jakhar.
Sources say Captain-Bajwa détente has been worked out by two Congress MP’s- Amarinder Singh’s wife and Patiala MP Praneet Kaur and Khadoor Sahib MP Jasbir Singh Dimpa.
The latest development in Punjab politics comes just ahead of a crucial high-powered meeting called by Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Delhi to thrash out a compromise formula in the warring state unit on Sunday.
In another move to reach out to his detractors, Amarinder Singh has opened the doors of his residence for MLAs and ministers. He wants the displeasure of legislators and leaders to be removed.
Bajwa has however denied meeting the chief minister. The RS MP is said to be keen on returning to state politics by contesting the next assembly polls slated for 2023. Despite his denial, Bajwa hinted that he has no personal fight with Captain Amarinder Singh and they should fight together on all issues to win the upcoming assembly polls.
As for Sidhu, Bajwa wants Sidhu to be given a role in the party but added that Congress loyalists should not be ignored in the process.