Sidhu to take charge as Punjab Cong. chief tomorrow


As newly appointed Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu and four other working presidents are set to assume charge here on Friday, an invite will be extended to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for the event.

Mr. Sidhu will be taking over from incumbent State Congress chief Sunil Jakhar.

Mr. Sidhu and Captain Singh have been at loggerheads for the past some time, with the Amritsar (East) MLA recently attacking the Chief Minister over the desecration cases.

The Chief Minister was also averse to his appointment as the State Congress chief. After Mr. Sidhu’s elevation, the Chief Minister had said that he would not meet him until the cricketer-turned-politician apologised for his “derogatory” tweets against him.

A party leader told reporters in Amritsar on Wednesday that the Chief Minister would be requested to grace the event.

Sources said that an invite was set to be extended to the Chief Minister on behalf of the newly appointed State unit chief and four working presidents.

Incharge of Punjab affairs at the AICC, Harish Rawat, and other senior Congress leaders are expected to attend the event, the sources said.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi had on Sunday appointed Mr. Sidhu as the new president of the party’s Punjab unit, notwithstanding the strong opposition from Capt. Singh.

Ms. Gandhi also appointed four working presidents, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Pawan Goel and Kuljit Singh Nagra, to assist Mr. Sidhu in the run-up to the next Assembly elections.

Earlier, the Punjab Chief Minister’s media adviser had said the Chief Minister would not meet Mr. Sidhu until he publicly tendered an apology for his “derogatory” tweets against him.

Mr. Nagra said they had requested AICC office-bearers, senior leaders of the Congress, including the Chief Minister and party workers, to attend the event.

“They must reach the event to bless the new team. We request Jakhar sahab and Chief Minister sahab that they must attend,” Mr. Nagra told reporters in Amritsar.

Sources said Mr. Nagra was likely to meet Capt. Singh on Thursday while formally inviting him for the Friday’s function.

Earlier during the day on Wednesday, in what was seen as a show of strength, nearly 60 Congress MLAs gathered at the residence of Mr. Sidhu in Amritsar, amid suspense over a possible truce between him and Capt. Singh.

The Congress has 80 MLAs in the Assembly.

Before going to Amritsar, Mr. Sidhu had been calling on Ministers and legislators in Chandigarh to mobilise support in the past a few days.

Mr. Sidhu had already met several Ministers and MLAs.

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