Senior Congress leader and Punjab’s in charge Harish Rawat has said that the timing of disgruntled party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu’s statement was wrong. Speaking to India TV, Rawat referred to Sidhu’s popularity to say he could drive the party’s performance in the Assembly elections in Punjab slated for early next year.
“Navjot Sidhu is an important person…his grievances are valid and I am his culprit… The party will definitely utilise his potential..,” he said. “We will find a way for him.”
Rawat, one of the members of an AICC panel set up Congress chief Sonia Gandhi to resolve the infighting, added that Sidhu enjoys stardom and considering his popularity, “whatever responsibility will be given to him, he will discharge it”. Rawat said that he wants Sidhu to be given an important role to strengthen the party in the state and become an “important pillar”.
“…you have to keep patience when you are at the top and wait for the right time. You have to be more cautious… I didn’t like the timing of his statement,” Rawat said.
Meanwhile, Sidhu is likely to appear before a two-member AICC panel in Delhi on Thursday. This would be the second time when Sidhu will appear before an AICC panel amid infighting in the Congress’ Punjab unit ahead of the Assembly elections. The two-member panel was set up to resolve the differences between Sidhu and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. It comprises senior leaders Ambika Soni and Salman Khurshid.
Sidhu had earlier appeared before a three-member panel led by senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge in Delhi. The panel also comprising Harish Rawat and former MP JP Aggarwal had submitted a report to Sonia Gandhi, suggesting that Navjot Singh Sidhu be ‘suitably accommodated’.
Sidhu is at loggerheads with CM Amarinder and both have publicly given statements against each other in the media, with Sidhu criticising the CM for not bringing the guilty to book in the Kotkapura sacrilege incident. Sidhu had quit the Amarinder Singh cabinet in July 2019 after being divested of the local bodies portfolio and has been in the political wilderness since.
Notably, Sidhu’s name is doing the rounds for deputy CM, but CM Amarinder is opposed to the move. It is also learned that Sidhu wants the post of PCC chief, but Amarinder is opposed to this idea as well. The CM, however, has no objection to Sidhu joining the Cabinet.