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Thursday, December 09, 2021

‘Punjab’s last chance for resurrection’: Navjot Singh Sidhu tweets his letter to Sonia Gandhi with 13-point agenda

Among the points highlighted by Sidhu in the letter are justice in sacrilege cases, Punjab's drugs menace, agricultural issues, employment opportunities, sand mining, and welfare of backward classes.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
Updated: October 18, 2021 5:44:16 am
Navjot Singh Sidhu with Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi in New Delhi (File)

Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has written to party president Sonia Gandhi, seeking a meeting to present a 13-point agenda for the party’s campaign for the Assembly polls due next year. Stating that this is “Punjab’s last chance for resurrection and redemption,” Sidhu sought a personal meeting with Sonia Gandhi.

Among the points highlighted by Sidhu in the letter are justice in the sacrilege cases, Punjab’s drugs menace, agricultural issues, employment opportunities, sand mining, and welfare of backward classes. Sidhu also stated that the Cabinet should have a Majhbhi Sikh, a Dalit from Doaba, and two backward class ministers.

The letter dated October 15, was shared by Sidhu on Twitter today. Interestingly, Sidhu shared the letter, a day after she had addressed the Congress Working Committee and told the party leaders to get in touch with her directly instead of choosing the media route.

Raising the issue of liquor in the agenda, Sidhu has demanded that the liquor trade in the state should be centralised and a Corporation should run it. On sand mining, Sidhu has once again supported his earlier model of providing sand at a fixed reasonable price to the end-user. He has also listed regular jobs and stated that at least 20 employees unions are already protesting against the contractual system in the state.

“It might be the last damage control exercise or else, Mafia-Raj ruling the state patronized by the Badals will take the state to the extent of financial emergency, joblessness, corruption, and agrarian crisis, from which, there will be no return,” Sidhu wrote. He also requested a personal audience from Gandhi to present to her the Punjab Model with a 13-Point Agenda to be part of the Congress Manifesto for the 2022 Assembly Elections.

Sidhu had stepped down as Punjab Congress chief on September 28 and posted his resignation letter on Twitter.

The letter was made public ahead of a coordination meeting scheduled for Sunday evening in Chandigarh. The meeting is to be attended by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, AICC observer Harish Chaudhary and PPCC general secretary in-charge Pargat Singh. It remains to be seen whether Sidhu participates in the meeting or not.

Earlier this week, Sidhu met Rahul Gandhi in Delhi. His meeting with Gandhi came a day after he met AICC general secretary (organisation) KC Venugopal and Rawat at the AICC headquarters. Rawat was also present during Sidhu’s meeting with Gandhi, which stretched on for one and a half hours.

Rawat Friday said that Sidhu has been “assured” that his concerns will be address and that he will soon resume his duties as the state chief.

Emerging from the meeting with Gandhi, Sidhu told the media: “Whatever concerns I had, I shared those with Rahul ji. All those concerns are sorted out”. He refused to speak anything on his resignation.

During the meeting with Venugopal and Rawat, Sidhu raised his concerns over the 18-point agenda taken up by the Captain Amarinder Singh-led government, on which actions are pending. These included action against those involved in the sacrilege issue and the drugs mafia. After a long spell of infighting in the state Congress unit, Amarinder Singh had resigned in September and Charanjit Singh Channi was sworn in as the new leader.

Appointed PPCC chief on July 19, Sidhu resigned in September, minutes after allocation of portfolios to ministers in the new government headed by Charanjit Singh Channi. According to Congress leaders familiar with the developments in Punjab, although Sidhu had his say in some of the crucial decisions post-Captain Amarinder Singh’s resignation from the top post, he was “angry and upset” that his suggestions were ignored in the appointment of some top officials.

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