Chandigarh/New Delhi, Oct 5, 2020 –
It could have been a good photo opportunity with Rahul Gandhi, Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu in one frame but the situation is far from cosy between the Punjab CM and the celebrated cricketer-turned-politician.
Even as a sulking Navjot Singh Sidhu attended the the Kheti Bachao Rally on Sunday in Moga seated in the front row with Rahul Gandhi, it wasn’t before the Congress’s Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat went to his residence and accompanied him to Moga.
Sidhu, who was in hibernation since his resignation from the Punjab government in 2019, on Sunday lashed out at the Central government over the farm bills but when asked to wind up his speech, took potshots at the Chief Minister, albeit indirectly. “Today, let me speak to my heart’s content. You have made me sit for too long,” said Sidhu in chaste Punjabi.
Rawat has called Sidhu a national asset because of his reputation as a crowd-puller and hinted a national role for him in the party.
Ahead of Sunday’s rally Rawat met him on Thursday to pacify him after reports surfaced that he may leave the Congress but after the meeting Rawat said “Sidhu is not upset and, even if he is, I am here like his elder brother. He will be seen with the Congress flag in both his hands at our rallies.”
At the the Kheti Bachao Rally in Moga, Rahul Gandhi was seated on a tractor with Amarinder but Sidhu was accompanied by Rawat.
After the Moga rally, Rawat hinted that all was well and the party will take care of his grievances.
Sidhu may be given a bigger role in the party soon to placate him.
Sidhu had resigned from Punjab Government following the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. He sent his resignation to then Congress president Rahul Gandhi in June last year, but made it public in July.
Sidhu was upset when stripped of the local bodies portfolio and handed Energy as Chief Minister Amarinder had blamed Sidhu for party’s bad performance in Punjab’s urban areas.
The two had not been on good terms since Sidhu blamed Amarinder for scuttling Sidhu’s wife’s Lok Sabha ticket from Chandigarh and also taking away his favoured portfolios after the elections.
Rahul Gandhi continued his rally on Monday and addressed a rally in Sangrur on the second day of his three-day ‘Kheti Bachao Yatra’, before he led another ‘tractor rally’ in support of the farmers protesting against these laws.
“The farmers will not be scared into submission. They will face the Covid pandemic but fight for their rights on the streets of Punjab and the rest of the country,” warned the Congress leader.
Joined by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who lashed out at the Union government for what he called “destroying the time-tested farmer-middleman relationship” to hand over the agriculture sector to big corporate houses, Rahul made it clear that the Congress would not stop fighting for the cause of farmers. (Agency)