Former cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who represents Amritsar East constituency in the Punjab Assembly from the ruling Congress in the state, has been camping in Delhi, meeting the top party leadership in an effort to have an upper hand in his feud with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
His efforts seem to have been partially successful: on Wednesday he met Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, a day after Rahul Gandhi denied he had any meeting scheduled with him. The Sidhu-Priyanka meeting reportedly lasted nearly three hours, and that Priyanaka left in the middle to meet her brother Rahul.
Sidhu tweeted a photo with a caption, “Had a long meeting with Priyanka Gandhi.”
No one yet knows what transpires at the Sidhu-Priyanka meeting, political circles in Chandigarh are agog with speculation over Sidhu’s future role in the party in a state where polls are due early next year.
The Congress has an overwhelming majority in the Punjab Assembly – it has 80 seats in the 117-member House.
Things came to a boil in the state Congress after the High Court earlier this year dismissed a government-appointed SIT report on two police firing incidents in Behbal Kalan and Kot Kapura in Faridkot districts in sacrilege cases five years back in which two Sikh protesters were killed.
The resentment in the party is also attributed to Captain’s “overdependence” on bureaucrats and the CM’s failure to take action against the Akali leaders such as former Akali Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and his father Parkash Singh Badal.
After the 2017 Punjab Assembly election, Captain Amarinder Singh made Sidhu a cabinet minister despite opposition from within the party. He was a new entrant and there were many seniors in the waiting. However, they were ignored to placate Sidhu, who has remained dissatisfied throughout much of his four years as an MLA and a minister.
During this period, he also resigned as a minister and remained absent from his constituency and the state assembly for 18 months.
Sidhu has been openly targeting the CM over issues such as the sacrilege cases, revenue losses and other “failures of the Captain government”.