M A I N   N E W S

Back in Amritsar, Sidhu cold-shouldered by BJP top brass
Perneet Singh/TNS

Amritsar, September 4
BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu was forced to skip a meeting with party workers, apparently due to lukewarm response, on his return to his constituency after a gap of over six months today. While Sidhu received a rousing reception from his supporters along the route from the airport to the Circuit House, where he was to address a workers’ meeting around 4 pm, none of the party’s senior leaders was present to receive him at the airport.

The MP was greeted by party workers on his arrival at the venue gate but had to make a hasty retreat apparently after witnessing thin attendance in the “pandal” set up for the meeting. Sidhu later claimed he was never supposed to address the party workers.

The party leaders who had been announcing Sidhu’s arrival at the venue for address were forced call off the meeting. The MP soon returned to the Circuit House, this time to hold a meeting with the district administration officials concerning city projects.

Sidhu clarified that he had already told the district BJP chief that he would not address any workers’ meeting. “There are certain things that the alliance wants me to be silent about.”

He said he was already late for the meeting with officials as his flight got delayed.

His wife and Chief Parliamentary Secretary Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu had a few days ago said the MP would meet party workers on his return to the constituency.

While Sidhu ruled out any foul play behind the “fiasco” at the workers’ meeting, his associates termed it sabotage by some BJP leaders. They claimed leaders of the Amritsar (Central) and Amritsar (North) constituencies were assigned the task of convening the workers’ meeting but they failed to do their job properly.

“None of the ‘mandal pradhans’ arrived for the meeting and the same applies for the 92 cells formed by the party. Even from the district body, only district unit chief Naresh Sharma and general secretary Surinder Sharma were present,” a source said.

He also questioned the need for putting up 2,300 chairs, most of which were empty, for the meeting. Amritsar (North) MLA Anil Joshi hasn’t been on good terms with Sidhu. The MP’s wife had recently extended him an olive branch.

Also, BJP general secretary Tarun Chugh, considered close to Joshi, is the in-charge of Amritsar (Central) constituency. Senior BJP leaders seemed to have cold-shouldered the MP on his return. Those conspicuous by their absence included Punjab Industry Minister Anil Joshi, Punjab BJP vice-president Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina and state BJP general secretary Tarun Chugh.

Mayor Bakshi Ram Arora was the only prominent face at the airport, while Punjab Sewerage Board former chairman Baldevraj Chawla was present at the Circuit House. District BJP chief Naresh Sharma said Joshi was out of station, while Chugh and Chhina were busy with zonal meetings of the party.





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