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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Farm legislation row: After supporting farmers, Sidhu ignores party call to protest

As Congress ministers, MLAs and party leaders responded to the message by the PPCC by organising such protests in their respective constituencies, former Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was conspicuous by not coming out in his Assembly segment, Amritsar (East).

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh | Updated: September 22, 2020 12:45:47 pm
navjot singh sidhu, punjab, punjab cabinet, punjab cabinet reshuffle, amarinder singh, congress, ahmed patel, rahul gandhi, navjot kaur, indian express newsSidhu, sources said, is preparing and he is likely to be seen amidst the farmers.

Two days after tweeting in support of farmers amid the farm legislation row, former Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday did not respond to a call of the Congress asking every MLA and leader to pan out across the state and organise protests in every part.

As Congress ministers, MLAs and party leaders responded to the message by the PPCC by organising such protests in their respective constituencies, Sidhu was conspicuous by not coming out in his Assembly segment, Amritsar (East).

Sources close to him, however, said he had called a meeting of councillors close to him on Tuesday as he was planning to sit on a farmers’ protests from Wednesday onwards.

Sidhu’s close aide Pargat Singh and MLA from Jalandhar, who organised a protest in his Jalandhar (Cantt) segment, told The Indian Express, “Sidhu represents an urban seat. Hence, he may not have come out today. But he is likely to participate in the farmers’ dharnas very soon.”
In the same breath, he said, “I have not spoken to him on this, but he should come out. And I am sure he will come out amidst farmers. We are there only if Punjab is. And Punjab will be, if farmers are.”

Sidhu, sources said, is preparing and he is likely to be seen amidst the farmers. “We had conveyed the party’s message to his personal staff. We have been doing that. But we never got any response,” a party leader said, adding that the Congress protests received an overwhelming response.

Sidhu, who had broken his Twitter silence after over a year two days ago, had said, “Farmer is the soul of Punjab, the wounds of the body can heal but an attack on our spirit, our existence will not be tolerated. The war trumpet says Inqilab Zindabad…Punjab, Punjabiyat and every Punjabi is with the farmers.”

In another tweet in Hindi, he took a swipe at the BJP-led government and said, “Sarkarein tamaam umar yehi bhool karti hain, dhool unke chehre pe thi, aaina saaf karti hain (Governments keep making the same mistake, the dust was on its face, but it kept cleaning the mirror).”
After his trumpet remark, Sidhu is being watched keenly. Those close to him said that this was Sidhu’s chance to come out of his self-imposed political exile and be seen among the farmers.

The Congress is also preparing to protest. The party had written to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking an appointment to lodge a protest. But he has not given them an appointment. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh would have led the delegation.

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