Amritsar (Punjab): In a show of strength, 62 MLAs, arrived at Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu’s residence in Amritsar on Wednesday.
As per his office, Sidhu had called the party MLAs for breakfast. The meeting comes after an advisor of the CM Amarinder Singh rejected reports on Tuesday suggesting the former cricketer and newly appointed Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu had sought an appointment to meet Chief Minister.
There is no change in the stance that Singh will not meet Sidhu till he publicly apologises for his “derogatory” tweets against him, chief minister’s media advisor Raveen Thukral said, indicating the simmering tension between the two leaders is far from over.
“The Chief Minister will not meet Sidhu till he publicly apologises for his personally derogatory social media attacks against him,” Amarinder Singh’s media advisor said in a tweet on Tuesday.
The MLAs at Sidhu’s residence said that the party is united and that there is no need for an apology. “Why should Sidhu apologise (to CM)? It’s not a public issue. CM has not solved many issues. In that case, he should also apologise to the public,” Congress MLA Pargat Singh said.
MLA Madan Lal Jalalpur said, “I have faith that 2022 Assembly polls will be won because of Sidhu. CM’s advisers are misleading him. Due to this, Punjab is going backward.”
“The day Sidhu was appointed as the Punjab party President, about 5 per cent of votes for Congress increased. The youth who were leaving Congress and joining the AAP party came back because of this. I am sure that at least 20 per cent of votes for Congress will increase because of Sidhu,” he added.
Jalalpur also said that the party and the CM have to work together to be successful. Referring to Punjab CM’s tweet he said that Sidhu should not apologise because it is a CM’s duty to address the concerns of people of his state, even if it is against him.
“Sidhu is not just Sidhu anymore; he is the Punjab Congress president. He has nothing to apologise for. Although, yes, Sidhu should respect him since he is like a father to us all,” he added.
Amarinder Singh was learnt to have told AICC general secretary Harish Rawat last week that he will not meet the cricketer-turned-politician until he publicly tenders an apology .
There has been no reaction from the CM over the Amritsar East MLA’s elevation to the post of the chief of the party’s state unit.
On Tuesday, senior Congress leader and cabinet minister Brahm Mahindra had ruled out any personal meeting with Sidhu till he resolves his issues with Chief Minister Singh.
The statement came on Tuesday when Sidhu went to Amritsar where he got a rousing welcome from his supporters and party workers.
In a statement issued here, Mahindra said the decision to appoint Sidhu had been taken by the high command and is welcome.
“However, I will not meet him (Sidhu) till he meets the Chief Minister and resolves his issues with him”, Mahindra said.
He said Singh is the leader of the Congress legislature party and he (Mahindra) is duty-bound to follow him.
Before going to Amritsar, Sidhu had been calling on ministers and legislators in Chandigarh to mobilise support in the past few days. Sidhu had already met several ministers and MLAs.
The cricketer-turned-politician will pay obeisance at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Wednesday and many party leaders were expected to be there.
(with inputs from ANI and PTI)