After nearly months of hectic lobbying and parlays within the Congress in Punjab over "defiant" former Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was in direct loggerheads with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Sidhu was on Saturday night appointed the state unit party President, replacing Sunil Jakhar, a prominent Hindu face who was at the helm for over four years.

His appointment comes in the wake of serious objections raised by Amarinder Singh, who wrote to interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi against the elevation of Sidhu, a Jat Sikh, to the post, saying it would upset senior leaders representing the Hindu community.

Not just this, many MLAs backing Punjab CM had written to the party high command opposing Sidhu’s elevation. But the way Congress High Command took decision over Sidhu by going against Capt Amarinder, the insiders say that this is a strong message to the party's state satraps as well as chief ministers who are asserting themselves.

Captain-Sidhu tussle is not new!

It is said that Captain and Sidhu had problems from the beginning and this is nothing new. Captain Amarinder Singh was not even happy with his induction into the party from BJP and it was under pressure from the Congress high command, he was given a cabinet berth.

Sidhu even tried to build pressure on Captain Amarinder Singh through Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to give him the post of deputy chief minister. He always eyed the home portfolio but Captain Amarinder Singh refused to budge.

The difference between Captain-Sidhu widened when the latter started publicly targeting Punjab CM over issues related to Badals and his promise to wipe out the drug mafias who caused huge losses to the state exchequer.

Sidhu in last two-three months posted nearly 150 odds tweets regarding drug mafia, sacrilege, power crisis, sand mafia etc criticising the Punjab CM and his functioning. 
He even in a public statement said that it is Badals who are ruling over Punjab and not Capt Amarinder-led-Congress government.

Sidhu became active again ahead of elections, why? 

Sidhu resigned from his post as a Cabinet Minister in the state on July 14, 2019 after differences with Amarinder Singh over portfolio allocation. Sidhu was in-charge of local bodies but was shifted to the Power Department.

Time and again he was meeting top party leaders, including Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi, and apprised them of the political situation in Punjab. He even kept on meeting election strategist Prashant Kishor.

Appealing to the people to join him and "be part of the resurrection", Sidhu, who has never been far from controversies, even hogging the limelight as fallout -- whether for good or bad.

Prashant Kishor and Navjot Sidhu!

It is being learnt from sources that this ‘Punjab Congress Crisis’ drama was a part of a bigger strategy which has been scripted by none other Prashant Kishor. As Congress has been mulling the strategy to give prominent space to young leaders, therefore, Sidhu’s elevation is an indication that Capt Amarinder is not Congress in Punjab and things can change any moment. 

Priyanka Gandhi played a major role, know how? 

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is said to have played the role of a crisis manager in ‘Punjab Congress Crisis’. As per sources, Priyanka Gandhi fought all odds and even arranged Sidhu’s meeting with Rahul to assume the role of the state president post to him. It is said Priyanka is eyeing Congress leadership and want young leaders like her to assume the charge. Besides, major fact behind Sidhu being appointed PCC President despite Capt Amarinder's stiff opposition was the popularity survey conducted by Congress. 

Also Read: Navjot Sidhu’s poster in on Punjab Congress Headquarter, Captain’s out

Meanwhile, only time will tell whether Sidhu will be able to return his party to power with Amarinder Singh remaining the Chief Minister's face for the upcoming election, slated in early 2022 or he himself could be the potential candidate for CM’s post.

 

 

 

 

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