In what appears to be another attempt by the party towards a thaw in their relationship, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will be hosting his bete noire and former Cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu at the former’s residence on Wednesday.
The meeting is taking place a day before the CM will be addressing a press conference to mark four years of his government on Thursday.
Sources told The Indian Express that the meeting could fructify into getting Sidhu back in the mainstream of the party. A source said that Sidhu could be reinducted into the Cabinet and an announcement in this regard could also be made. Amarinder would be getting back from his Kandiyali holiday home sojourn in Himachal Pradesh, where he visited on his birthday on March 11, after the Budget session of Vidhan Sabha.
However, party sources have been indicating that the party high command was inclined to appoint Sidhu as the PPCC chief. But the CM has not been agreeing to get him as PPCC chief, considering that the next Assembly election in Punjab is a few months away and the elections are contested under the leadership of a single leader. PPCC chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar’s launching of Captain for 2022 campaign is being seen as a move to scuttle Sidhu’s “adjustment” as PPCC chief. “If Sidhu is appointed as PPCC chief, it would be a climbdown for the CM, who has been stating that there were more deserving candidates to lead the party than Sidhu, who was not a dyed-in-wool Congressman.”
All eyes will be on the meeting of the duo on Wednesday. Party general secretary incharge Harish Rawat had also met the CM a few days ago with a missive from the high command. Rawat had been pushing for rapprochement between Sidhu and Amarinder. If Sidhu accepts the Cabinet berth, it remains to be seen whether he will accept Power Department or Amarinder gives him some other department. If Sidhu accepts Power then it will be a climbdown for him as he had been claiming that he would be back in the Cabinet only if he is handed the Local Bodies Department.
Sidhu was divested of the department after 2019 Lok Sabha elections as Amarinder had cited non-performance.
The meeting also holds importance as it is being held after Amarinder has appointed political strategist Prashant Kishor as his Advisor. Kishor was instrumental in getting Sidhu on board the Congress party ahead of 2017 Assembly elections too.