Even after a lunch meeting between CM Amarinder Singh and former Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab Congress was not able to put up a united show at Shambhu border on Monday during a protest led by PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar in support of farmers’ agitation.
While AICC general secretary incharge Harish Rawat was a part of the protest along with a number of MLAs, ministers and MPs, Sidhu’s absence indicated that everything was still not well in the party.
Even as the protest was on with party leaders addressing the gathering bashing Centre and the farm laws, Sidhu tweeted: “Character is not made in a crisis, it is exhibited!! Punjabiyat lives strong in the heart of every Punjabi, light of Bhagat Singh shines bright, transforming the image of ‘Udta Punjab’ to the young, articulated, learned & vibrant Punjab. “CharDa Punjab” Ascending #Tractor2Twitter.”
He also shared a video asking the farmers to keep the fire on against Centre which he said would soon have to relent. In the video, Sidhu shared the video grabs from farmers earlier protest at Shambhu border when they were water cannoned by Haryana government.
Jakhar, meantime, said that all the MLAs, ministers and MPs were informed about the protest. The party had mobilised masses from across the state to make it a success. Many MLAs participated along with the ministers. They included Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Manpreet Singh Badal, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Sunder Sham Arora, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot and Vijay Inder Singla.
While party MPs including Manish Tewari and Mohd Sadiq were also present, Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa and his colleague Shamsher Singh Dullo, who have been known baiters of Amarinder and Jakhar, were also missing. Other party MPs including Ravneet Singh Bittu, G S Aujla and Jasbir Singh Dimpa have been sitting on round the clock dharna at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, braving cold and rain.
Rawat has been trying hard to get Sidhu in the mainstream of the party for the past few months. He managed to give a sense of bridging the differences, at least publicly, between Amarinder and Sidhu by getting them together. But Sidhu’s absence from party’s protest in support of farmers has against sparked off controversy.
Earlier, Rawat had brought Sidhu to former AICC president Rahul Gandhi’s tractor rally. Sidhu had also gone to Jantar Mantar for Congress party’s protest in favour of farmers there. He had attended the special Vidhan Sabha session also.
Recently, there have been reports that Sidhu may be re-inducted in the Cabinet, but the party was waiting for the farmers protest to get over. Amarinder’s aide and Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi had met him in Amritsar and stated that Sidhu could be re-inducted. Interestingly, Rana Sodhi was also not a part of the protest on Monday.
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