Mountain Out Of Molehill: Singh Junks Rumours After Meeting Sidhu
The CM brushed off speculation of Sidhu’s re-induction to his cabinet, after the luncheon on Wednesday.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has denied all speculation that was triggered when he hosted former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu for a ‘warm and cordial’ luncheon meeting at his farmhouse on Wednesday, 25 November.
This meeting was being seen as an effort to ‘thaw differences’ between the two, who are considered to be rivals within the Congress. The Captain claimed that nothing was to be read between the lines.
Captain Amarinder quashed these rumours, saying “People often make a mountain out of a molehill. Navjot ji wanted to meet me, so I said sure, come have lunch. I call so many of colleagues, who want to meet me, to lunch. So I invited him just like that. He came, sat for an hour, we talked a lot. We talked about cricket.”
Amarinder’s media adviser tweeted, “It was a warm & cordial luncheon meeting that saw CM Captain Amarinder and Navjot Singh Sidhu discuss a host of important political matters of Punjab and national interest. The two leaders spent a pleasant over an hour sharing thoughts on vital issues.”
Discussions were held on a number of political issues, including the farmers’ agitation.
IANS reported that the meeting could soon result in the re-induction of Sidhu in the Amarinder Singh-led ministry in Punjab. There were speculations that there could also be a possible reshuffle of departments soon after his induction.
Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu had a falling out after the latter exited the state council of ministers because he objected to taking up his new position in the ministry allocated to him after a state cabinet reshuffle on 6 June, 2019. The Punjab CM accepted Sidhu’s resignation in July last year. He was given the Ministry for Power and New and Renewable Energy Sources, the portfolio he had not taken charge of.
IANS reported that the efforts of All India Congress Committee (AICC) General Secretary and Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Rawat have borne results as he was instrumental in pacifying Sidhu.
The luncheon was organised after almost three-month-long efforts of Rawat to bridge the political differences between the two leaders. Rawat called Sidhu, the cricketer turned politician, a ‘national asset’ because of his reputation as a crowd puller and hinted at a national role for him in the party, reported IANS.
There is allegedly some discontentment between certain party leaders who deem that Sidhu is being given too much importance, Rawat advised state leaders to be “flexible and accommodating” towards the former minister, reported IANS.
Earlier in the year, on 4 November 2020, CM Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu shared a platform at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi, in the protest led by the CM against the Centre’s farm laws, where all Punjab Congress MLAs and ministers protested against the Union government. The CM also asked Sidhu to second the resolution in the state assembly.
(With inputs from Indian Express and IANS)
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.