Farmers’ cause brings Sidhu, Amarinder together

Sultanpur Lodhi: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh addresses during the 55oth birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev in Sultanpur Lodhi, Punjab on Nov 12, 2019. (Photo: IANS)

New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS) Much to the relief of the Congress, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu shared the stage on Wednesday at Jantar Mantar here on the farmers issue where all Punjab Congress MLAs and ministers protested against the Union government over the recently passed farm laws.

Sidhu who had differences with the Chief Minister and had resigned from the Cabinet but he greeted the Punjab CM before speaking on the occasion, saying the “Union government wants to suppress the voice of Punjab Chief Minister and MLAs and this will not be allowed.”

The Chief Minister reciprocated the gesture and mentioned Sidhu’s name and it seems the Congress has successfully managed to overcome the impending crisis in the party. Sidhu and Amarinder attacked the Centre for favouring the corporates over the existing system of ‘Mandis’.

The efforts of Punjab Congress in-charge Harish Rawat have borne results as he was instrumental in pacifying Sidhu. He had called Sidhu a “national asset” because of his reputation as a crowd puller and hinted at a national role for him in the party.

Sidhu had also attended the the Kheti Bachao rally in Moga on October 4, seated in the front row with Rahul Gandhi, after Rawat went to his residence and accompanied him to Moga.

Sidhu, who was in hibernation since his resignation from the Punjab government in 2019, had lashed out at the central government over the farm laws but when asked to wind up his speech, took potshots at the Chief Minister, albeit indirectly.

“Today, let me speak to my heart’s content. You have made me sit for too long,” said Sidhu in chaste Punjabi in the Moga rally last month.

Sources say Sidhu may soon be given a bigger role in the party to placate him.

Sidhu had resigned from the Punjab government following the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He sent his resignation to then Congress president Rahul Gandhi in June last year, but made it public in July.

Sidhu was upset when he was stripped of the Local Bodies portfolio and handed Energy as Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had blamed him for the party’s poor poll performance in Punjab’s urban areas.

The two had not been on good terms since Sidhu blamed Amarinder for scuttling Sidhu’s wife’s Lok Sabha ticket from Chandigarh and also taking away his favoured portfolios after the election.

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