Sidhu in Amarinder’s constituency, meets Congress MLAs

Sidhu’s camp also released his pictures with at least 30 MLAs whom he had met on Saturday. “The number is growing,” said an aide of Sidhu.

Widely tipped to be the next Punjab Congress chief, Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday arrived in Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s home constituency, Patiala, to meet party MLAs and garner support for his elevation.

The Sunday Express reported that Amarinder will abide by any decision of Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the appointment of the state Congress chief but refused to meet Sidhu until he publicly apologised for posting what he called “derogatory” tweets against him.

Sidhu met Shutrana MLA Nirmal Singh Shutrana and later went to Ghanaur MLA Madan Lal Jalalpur’s house along with several MLAs. Cabinet minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa was already present at Jalalpur’s house.

Jalalpur, who is considered close to Patiala MP and Amarinder’s wife Preneet Kaur, hosted Sidhu along with his workers. Jalalpur told the media, “I got a call from Randhawa that Sidhu would be visiting me. I have organised tea for him.”

Sidhu’s camp also released his pictures with at least 30 MLAs whom he had met on Saturday. “The number is growing,” said an aide of Sidhu.

Those opposing Sidhu as the party’s Punjab chief have also begun drumming up numbers.

Rajya Sabha Partap Bajwa has organised a meeting of Punjab MPs at his residence in Delhi. The MP has announced that they would devise a strategy to oppose Sidhu’s elevation and also seek an appointment with AICC interim chief Sonia Gandhi.

Meanwhile, as many as 10 MLAs have extended their support to Amarinder and demanded Sidhu to apologise for his tweets. However, three of the seven are technically not Congress MLAs. MLAs Sukhpal Khaira, Nirmal Singh and Jagdev Kmalu recently joined Congress after being suspended by AAP. The remaining seven were Harminder Singh Gill, Fateh Jung Singh Bajwa, Gurpreet Singh GP, Kuldip Singh Vaid, Balwinder Singh Laddi, Santokh Singh Bhalaipur, Joginderpal Bhoa — all Congress MLAs.

In a statement, the MLAs urged the party high command to not let down Amarinder. They said, “Due to his unrelenting efforts the party stands well entrenched in Punjab. “

The MLAs said there was no doubt that the appointment of state PPCC chief was the prerogative of the party high command, but the infighting has only affected the party graph during the last couple of months.

The MLAs said that it was due to Amarinder that the party regained power in Punjab in the aftermath of the 1984 attack on Darbar Sahib and the subsequent anti-Sikh riots in Delhi and elsewhere in the country. They said that Amarinder Singh commanded immense respect across different sections of the society in the state, particularly among the farmers for whom he even risked losing his Chief Ministership while passing the 2004 Termination of Waters Agreement Act.

The MLAs said that since only six months were left for the state assembly elections, pulling the party into the different directions will only harm its prospects. They also supported Amarinder’s demand that Sidhu should tender a public apology for his tweets against the Chief Minister and the state government.

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