Navjot Singh Sidhu Cannot be Deputy CM or State Party Chief

Amrinder Singh conference AIC talks

The Congress High Command was ready to retain Navjot Singh Sidhu in a respectable position, probably with a prominent role in the campaign. But Amarinder Singh told Congress panel that Navjot Singh Sidhu could not be made Deputy CM or State Party Chief.

Sidhu has been making statements against the Punjab state government.

Punjab Chief Minister stated to the three-member committee lead by Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, in Delhi, that Sidhu cannot be made the state party chief the deputy chief minister. He is also said to have guaranteed the committee the previous week that steps in the sacrilege-police firing cases would be taken in the coming months, well before the Punjab election..

The committee panel was set up by the high command of Congress to resolve the disagreement in the party.

Singh, who is ready to take the party into elections under his belt, said the elevation of Navjot Singh Sidhu as deputy CM or PCC chief could disturb leadership equations in the state unit.

A source aware of the deliberations told News18.

Sidhu can come back to Cabinet and the vacant post for him. The Chief Minister also clarified that Sidhu could not be made the PCC chief as many other superior leaders in the party unit are suitable. The CM and the PCC chief both positions – cannot go to Jat Sikhs.

He pointed out to the committee that Sidhu has been rebellious by making comments against Punjab the government.

navjot singh sidhu congress infighting captain

The fact is not lost upon the Congress High Command that it is Captain Arminder Singh who put up an excellent performance in the last Lok Sabha elections. All the other Congress leaders did not seem to back Sidhu for either of the two top posts (deputy CM or PCC chief). Still, at least two of them said to News18 that the Party High Command seems willing to retain Navjot Singh Sidhu in a reputable position, with a vital role in the election campaign, and does not want him to deflect Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

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Another source said the CM had asked the committee to rein in leaders like Sidhu and Partap Singh Bajwa, who performed like opposition parties in Punjab.

On the delay in action in the disrespectful-police firing cases of 2015, the CM is said to have assumed that a new special investigation team (SIT) is on it, and action could follow in a few months, well before the Punjab elections scheduled in coming months. The CM has told the committee that his government is also bearing in mind a Special Leave Petition (SLP) in the SC of India against the Punjab High Court’s decision of quashing the earlier probe into the incidents.

Many Congress leaders who appeared before the committee said the delay in action was a significant concern and could potentially cost the party in the upcoming elections. The same was a significant pre-poll promise in the 2017 Punjab elections. A source said much of the probe was complete before the HC intervened to quash it as the Badal family questioned the pre-conceived notion of the probe, given a police officer of the earlier SIT had been very vocal about it.

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