Breaking the ice, Punjab Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and the cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu on Wednesday shared thoughts on vital issues, including farmers’ agitation, during an hour-long “warm and cordial luncheon meeting”.
Sidhu, who has been maintaining distance from the party programmes ever since he resigned from the State Cabinet in July 2019 following differences with the Chief Minister, made a comeback amidst the farmers’ struggle against the Centre’s farm laws. His return to the active politics could be attributed to the hardwork put in by the Congress’ newly appointed state party affairs’ in-charge Harish Rawat to bridge the gulf between the two.
When Rawat, Uttrakhand’s former Chief Minister, was given the responsibility of Congress’ state unit in September, he indicated at bridging the differences between the party’s top brass, especially bringing together Capt Amarinder and Sidhu.
In fact, it was only after Rawat’s insistence that Sidhu shared stage with the Chief Minister during Rahul Gandhi’s tractor rally against Centre’s farm laws, attended Vidhan Sabha session after more than a year, and even participated in party’s dharna at Delhi under Capt Amarinder’s leadership.
And all through this, Rawat ensured that Sidhu was not left behind or ignored.
Wednesday’s luncheon meeting was also part of these rapprochement efforts — initiated by Rawat and taken forward by both Capt Amarinder and Sidhu. Available information suggests that Capt Amarinder had himself called up Sidhu asking him to second his resolution against the Centre’s farm laws in the Vidhan Sabha’s special session.
Moreover, Sidhu was the second last speaker before the Chief Minister and praised the Chief Minister for his stand in favour of the farmers during the party’s dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
Apparently considering that he has to take Sidhu along, Capt Amarinder extended personal invitation to Sidhu over personal luncheon meeting at his farmhouse near Chandigarh.
“It was a warm & cordial luncheon meeting that saw CM@capt_amarinder and Navjot Singh Sidhu discuss a host of important political matters of Punjab and national interest. The two leaders spent a pleasant over an hour sharing thoughts on vital issues. @sherryontopp @INCIndia,” the Chief Minister’s media adviser Raveen Thurkral tweeted after the meeting.
Even as he did not give any insights of the meeting, it has been learnt that the two leaders discussed a host of issues, including the ongoing farmers’ agitation.
The meeting between the two is seen as Sidhu’s possible re-induction in the State Cabinet, in which a berth has been lying vacant ever since his resignation. It is believed that Sidhu’s induction in the Council of Ministers would lead to a major reshuffle of departments.
In fact, the Chief Minister reportedly wanted to carry out a Cabinet reshuffle early this year, which was delayed due to the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic.