Show of strength by Navjot Singh Sidhu amid growing pressure on Captain Amarinder Singh

Rajmeet Singh and GS Paul

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh/Amritsar, July 21

In a show of strength, Punjab Pradesh Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu gathered his party MLAs (Sidhu’s aides put the number at 62) at his residence in Amritsar on Wednesday amid reports of growing pressure on CM Capt Amarinder Singh to extend an olive branch to Sidhu. To end the impasse, Congress president Sonia Gandhi is learnt to have called up Captain, who has declared he will not meet Sidhu till he publicly apologises for his ‘derogatory’ tweets.

Four ministers —Tript Rajinder Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Charanjit Channi and Sukhjinder Randhawa — and legislators Raj Kumar Verka, Inderbir Singh Bolaria, Tarsem Singh DC, Madan Lal Jalalpur, Pargat Singh, Harminder Gill, Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, Dr Dharambir Agnihotri, Kulbir Zira, Harjot Kamal Singh, Harminder Jassi, Joginder Pal and Raja Warring were among those at Sidhu’s residence. The PPCC chief called it “winds of change.”

Accompanied by supporters, sitting and former MLAs and working presidents Kuljit Singh Nagra, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Sangat Singh Gilzian and Pawan Goel, Sidhu later paid obeisance at the Golden Temple, Durgiana Mandir and Ram Tirath Sthal.

Before leaving, the MLAs unanimously decided to send a letter to the CM duly signed by them, urging him to attend the installation ceremony of the new PPCC chief on Friday. Clearly, this is aimed at sending out the message that a majority of legislators are with Sidhu. Sidhu’s predecessor Jakhar, after paying obeisance at the Golden Temple, said: “It is wrong to call it a show of strength. We are here to seek the blessings of the Almighty for the prosperity and unity of Punjab.” On Captain seeking an apology from Sidhu, some MLAs, including Pargat Singh and Jalalpur, said there was no need for it. “Sidhu’s appointment was made by the high command after deliberations with all stakeholders, including the CM,” minister Sukhjinder Randhawa said.

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