New Delhi: The tussle in the Punjab Congress is far from over with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu still at loggerheads and the latter is not leaving any stone unturned to target the Chief Minister, though interventions from the Gandhis have been futile and both sides are flexing their muscles.
The latest has been the issue of electricity in which Sidhu targeted the Chief Minister and with counter offensive after the allegation that Sidhu himself has been a defaulter and has not paid his bills.
Sidhu mocked his own government in Punjab over power outages and asked the government to follow the AAP’s Delhi model of extending subsidies to generation companies.
“There is no need for power cuts in Punjab or for the Chief Minister to regulate office timings or AC use of the common people…If we act in the right direction,” said a sulking Sidhu, who met Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Rahul Gandhi separately in New Delhi on June 30 and apprised them of the political situation in Punjab that will go to the polls early next year.
The disgruntled Punjab Congress leader met Priyanka and Rahul separately on Wednesday, and there is a speculation that Priyanka Gandhi has suggested that Sidhu be made Punjab Congress chief, but Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and some of the other factions in the party are not accepting this formula.
The formula apparently suggested by Priyanka Gandhi to position Sidhu at the helm in the organisation has not been endorsed by Rahul Gandhi and the former Congress chief is upset with Sidhu for targeting the Chief Minister publicly.
Sources said that Punjab Congress leaders may accept Sidhu as the working president, but not as a full-fledged state unit chief as the Chief Minister is keen on having a non-Sikh face as the state Congress president.
Though Punjab in-charge for Congress, Harish Rawat, hoped that the issue is likely to be resolved around next week.
But Amarinder Singh is not going to give up as he called the MLAs supporting him for lunch in Chandigarh on Thursday and is rallying support for him and has been trying to scuttle every move of Sidhu.
The move has reportedly upset the party high command, which sees it as a show of strength, especially when the panel formed by the Congress to look into the Punjab issue has said that there is no question of removing the Chief Minister.
Sidhu is silent about what transpired during his meetings with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi on Wednesday, neither did the Congress make any official statement to placate both parties.
The Congress had constituted a committee under Mallikarjun Kharge which has submitted its report to Sonia Gandhi and even the Chief Minister came to Delhi twice to meet them but Sidhu when called by the committee did not meet them and also did not reply to calls, sources said.
The committee in its report has suggested that Sidhu be given an important role ahead of the polls but the Chief Minister is not willing to accommodate Sidhu except as a minister which is not acceptable to Sidhu who wants a larger role ahead of the election.