Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday met Congress President Sonia Gandhi in Delhi amid infighting in the state ahead of the Assembly elections next year, PTI reported.
A rift has emerged between Singh and his former Cabinet colleague Navjot Sidhu, who has reportedly been demanding a more prominent role in the Congress. The cricketer-turned-politician had resigned from the Punjab Cabinet after he was divested of the local bodies portfolio in 2019. Singh and Sidhu have publicly criticised each other for months.
After his meeting with Gandhi, Singh hinted at a possible truce between him and Sidhu. “Whatever Sonia Gandhi decides about the party in Punjab will be acceptable to us and we will implement her will,” Singh told reporters, according to The Tribune.
Singh refused to answer questions about Sidhu. “I do not know anything about Sidhu saab,” he was quoted as saying by The Indian Express. “I discussed with the [party] president the work being done by the Punjab government. We also discussed political issues.”
He added: “We have no problem in Punjab. Punjab is totally geared up for the coming elections.”
Sidhu had met Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Delhi last week amid his feud with the Punjab chief minister. They reportedly offered him a bigger role in the party, according to The Indian Express. The Congress also formed a three-member committee to resolve the crisis in Punjab.
Sidhu has been criticising the chief minister about the 2015 sacrilege case – when Sikh religious text Guru Granth Sahib was desecrated at Bargari in Faridkot – and the alleged delay by Singh’s government to bring justice. He has also spoken against the liquor, sand and transport mafias operating in Punjab.
Last week, the cricketer-turned-politician dismissed allegations that he was damaging the image of the Congress in one of the few states where it is in power. “Is it damaging if you address issues like sacrilege?” he asked. “Every MLA is raising this issue. All 78 MLAs are with me.”
Sidhu also hit out at his own party for the power crisis in the state. The Punjab government has been facing criticism over power shortage amid an intense heatwave.