CHANDIGARH: After another round of uncertainty, Navjot Singh Sidhu is set to remain Punjab Congress chief in deference to the wishes of the party’s central leadership, AICC’s state in-charge Harish Rawat announced on Thursday.
Rawat’s remarks came after meeting Sidhu in New Delhi to resolve the continuing crisis triggered by the cricketer-turned-politician “resigning” his post in protest over appointments and portfolio allocations after new CM Charanjit Singh Channi took charge.
“The instructions (from the central leadership) are clear that Sidhu should work as PCC president and set up the organisational structure… A bigger, formal announcement will be made tomorrow (Friday),” Rawat said.
Sidhu’s fulminations, which have alternated with praise for Priyanka Gandhi’s response to the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, had only muddled the scenario with Congress leaders worrying that his criticism could hurt the new government. It is likely these concerns were made evident to him.
Sidhu, who had quit on September 28 by declaring he could “never compromise on Punjab’s future”, said he conveyed his concerns to the party brass and agreed to abide by “every decision” of the Gandhis. “I have full faith in the Congress president (Sonia Gandhi), Priyanka and Rahul... whatever decision they take will be in the interest of Congress and Punjab… Right from the beginning, I consider them supreme.”
On the status of Sidhu’s formal resignation, which he had posted on Twitter, Rawat said, “A procedure has to be followed on every issue. We have our own system. You should wait till tomorrow.”
The former Uttarakhand CM, who met Sidhu along with AICC general secretary K C Venugopal, is likely to brief Sonia on the discussion before the party formally makes a statement. Sidhu is likely to meet Sonia separately on Friday, sources said.
The development comes amid reports that all is still not well between Sidhu and CM Channi. The Amritsar East MLA skipped the wedding of Channi’s son last week. Before Thursday’s meeting, Rawat said, “Sidhu and Channi have spoken on some issues, a solution will emerge... there are some things that take time.”
Even though Rawat had tweeted to say that Sidhu had been called for the meeting to discuss organisational issues, it was believed that the party leadership wanted to address the new round of infighting in the state unit.