Punjab Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh will be participating in the Congress party function on July 23, where his detractor Navjot Singh Sidhu will take charge as Punjab Congress president along with four working presidents.
Ahead of the function, the Chief Minister has invited all Congress legislators, Members of Parliament and senior party leaders to Punjab Bhawan on Friday, asking them to leave together for the installation of the new Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee team at the party office.
“Chief Minister @Capt_Amarinder Singh has invited all @INCPunjab MLAs, MPs and senior party functionaries at Punjab Bhawan for tea at 10 am on Friday. They will all then go to Punjab Congress Bhawan together from there for the installation of the new PPCC team,” said a tweet from Chief Minister’s official handle on Thursday.
After Mr. Sidhu’s elevation as Punjab Congress chief, Capt. Amarinder has been maintaining that he would not meet the former unless he (Mr. Sidhu) publicly apologised for his personally derogatory social media attacks against him (Capt. Amarinder).
The All India Congress Committee on July 18 appointed Mr. Sidhu as president of the Punjab Congress Committee, and four working presidents — Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Pawan Goel, and Kuljit Singh Nagra.
Mr. Nagra and Mr. Gilzian extended the invitation to the Chief Minister, which was signed by over 50 legislators, including Mr. Sidhu. The move is being seen as a show of strength and a pressure tactic in the backdrop of Capt. Amarinder’s continued opposition to Mr. Sidhu’s elevation as the party’s State chief .
The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) hit out at the Congress, saying that the Congress high command had already accepted that its government had “failed Punjabis miserably” and the party was now trying to wash away its non-performance by bringing about a change of face in its Punjab unit.
Former minister and senior SAD leader Daljit Cheema said, “It is a fact that Congress legislators had informed the party high command that they would not be able to enter villages because the State government had not fulfilled any of the promises made to the people. The high command admitted this failure by handing over an 18-point to-do list to the Chief Minister. It simultaneously appointed Navjot Sidhu as the Pradesh Congress President to shift the blame for the party’s non-performance on Capt Amarinder.”
Mr. Cheema said such “cheap political moves” by the Congress party would not work with Punjabis. “Mr. Sidhu was part and parcel of the non-performing Congress government. Mr. Sidhu should first admit his failure to do anything for the welfare of the people and tell Punjabis when they would get a ₹85,000 crore farm loan waiver as promised by his government and party. He should also disclose when the promised 25 lakh jobs would be given to youth and give a timeline for the eradication of the drug menace, etc.,” Mr. Cheema said.
Mr. Cheema said that both the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were working in cohort to “deceive Punjabis”. “The AAP is working as a ‘B team’ of the Congress party even as it professes to work for the welfare of Punjabis, but is actually following an anti-Punjab agenda, be it on the issue of river waters, stubble burning, or the recent move to force closure of thermal plants in Punjab,” he alleged.