Amritsar, July 20
PCC president Navjot Singh Sidhu was given a rousing welcome by Congress workers upon his arrival in the holy city. However, prominent Congress leaders, considered loyal to CM Capt Amarinder Singh, stayed away from the reception.
Sidhu’s supporters eagerly awaited his arrival despite the inclement weather. The crowd raised slogans and danced to the beats of dhol and burst firecrackers to celebrate his elevation. The scenes were reminiscent of 2004 when he arrived in the city from Lahore to kick-start his maiden political innings in Parliament on a BJP ticket.
The national highway got choked as people stopped to catch a glimpse of Sidhu, who waved at the crowd throughout his roadshow. Ironically, no local MLA was present at the Golden Gate to receive him. Amritsar South MLA Inderbir Singh Bolaria and Amritsar West MLA Raj Kumar Verka joined Sidhu from Chandigarh to Amritsar. North MLA Sunil Dutti met Sidhu at his residence.
Sidhu was welcomed by Jandiala MLA Sukhwinder Singh Danny Bandala, who is among the four working presidents of the PCC. However, Amritsar Improvement Trust chairperson Dinesh Bassi and Mayor Karamjit Singh Rintu missed the appointment for the day.
Bassi and Rintu too are considered to be Capt Amarinder’s loyalists. Rintu had installed hoardings showing open solidarity with Capt Amarinder. Both could not be contacted despite repeated attempts.
Another prominent leader and Cabinet Minister OP Soni was also conspicuous by his absence. Insiders said friction between Sidhu and Soni still prevailed, though they had reached a compromise after changed political equations. — TNS
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