On Friday, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh sent a letter to Congress President Sonia Gandhi in which he complained that the party high command was ‘forcibly interfering’ with the work of the Punjab government. According to sources privy to the letter’s contents, Captain Amarinder Sigh has clearly expressed his dissatisfaction and anger with the Punjab Congress’ apparent decision to appoint his rival Navjot Singh Sidhu as its president.
Punjab’s chief minister reportedly wrote to Sonia Gandhi that the party high command should appreciate the prevailing conditions in Punjab that are not conducive to a change in leadership. Amarinder Singh wrote, ‘The party and the government may both be responsible for the consequences of such a move’. As a result of the developments, he reportedly told the Congress leadership that their prospects are in jeopardy since they are in a state of confusion and are at a crossroads.
Navjot Singh Sidhu met Sonia Gandhi earlier in the day at her residence in New Delhi. The meeting comes just before the party’s Punjab unit revamp and amid reports that Sidhu may be given a key role in the party. Harish Rawat, the Congress party’s in-charge for Punjab, said that Sonia Gandhi has yet to reach a final decision on the issue and that he would share it as soon as it is made..
Asked whether Sidhu had been appointed Punjab Congress chief, Rawat replied: ‘Who says this? I came here to submit my note on Punjab to the Congress chief and as soon as a decision is taken by the Congress president, I will share it with you,’ Rawat said. In response to a question regarding his earlier comments on Sidhu that indicated he would be getting a larger role, he said, ‘Please just read my statement carefully, and you will understand it’.
Harish Rawat, the party’s Punjab in-charge, has been tasked by Congress leadership to go to Chandigarh on Saturday as an emissary. Amarinder Singh and Rawat are expected to meet. According to sources, he may also discuss a reshuffle in the Punjab cabinet with him. Navjot Singh Sidhu’s supporters, however, started celebrating and distributing sweets on Friday at his Patiala house with strong indications that the Congress high command is likely to favor him.
Sidhu’s supporters are being urged to hold off on making any announcement about his elevation to Punjab Congress president until a formal announcement is made by the Congress party. Captain Amarinder Singh has also been irked by reports that Sidhu’s supporters are celebrating in advance.