THOSE WHO thought Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s relationship with Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh was “on the rocks” need to think again. For Sidhu, who is looking for a brand ambassador for his tourism department, wants Amarinder to draw tourists to Punjab. “Who is better than Amarinder himself? He is a mass leader, has charisma and pedigree,” Sidhu told The Indian Express on Monday. Though he said his proposal was in an “embryonic” stage, he is certainly looking for a brand ambassador like actor Amitabh Bachchan, who is a brand ambassador for Gujarat Tourism.
“We have Golden Temple, which is visited by lakhs every year. All that is without any advertising. If we advertise, we will pull many more,” said Sidhu. “I am coming up with the proposal of circuit tourism for Punjab. It is in the initial stages. Just wait and watch. We are finding solutions for everything,” he said.
Why Sidhu, a celebrity himself, cannot be the brand ambassador of his own department? “There is nobody better than Captain saab,” he said.
Sources in the Congress revealed that Sidhu was found to be extremely “courteous” to Amarinder even at the Cabinet meeting on Monday. “He was seeking Amarinder’s permission each time he had a point to make,” revealed a minister.
Till a few days ago, the Congress camp was abuzz with reports that Amarinder had “cut Sidhu to size” by not making him deputy chief minister. He was even pushed to number three in the pecking order after Health Minister Brahm Mohindra. Amarinder had also got the house meant for deputy CM allotted to himself so as to convey the message that nobody would be deputy CM.
Sidhu’s portfolio was also considered “light” and he was not given housing and urban development. He had wasted no time in staking claim to the department, headed by Amarinder himself.
“Amarinder has always managed to silence his baiters in the past. He knows how to handle anyone who disagrees with him,” said a leader close to the CM. Leaders close to the Captain said his going public on seeking legal opinion on Sidhu’s TV appearance was not without reason.
Sidhu, however, got a clean chit from the state attorney. And, he did not miss telling the media that he had made it clear to Amarinder that he had not demanded housing and urban development. All he wanted was coordination.
Sidhu had ruffled many feathers in the Congress when he accused Amarinder of having a “nexus” with Badals before joining the party. Later, he ended up joining Congress with Amarinder at the helm.