Amid a gulf between Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and former Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, AICC general secretary and Punjab Congress affairs incharge Harish Rawat on Tuesday said that he will become a bridge between the duo, make them sit across the table and help them bury the hatchet.
Talking to The Indian Express, Rawat, who was in Chandigarh to meet the party leaders, said, “It is my job to help people bury the hatchet. Otherwise, what would I do here? It is my duty to help out if there is a communication gap and become a bridge.”
Amarinder and Sidhu have had differences between them. Amarinder had divested Sidhu of his local bodies department and handed him Power department last year citing “incompetence” that had “cost the party dear in urban areas in Lok Sabha elections.” Sidhu had refused to join power department and resigned from the Cabinet. Ever since, he has been staying away from party activities.
Rawat said, he has already spoken to the CM and Sidhu. “Captain Sahib has told me that he has no issues with Sidhu. He has told me that he considers Sidhu as his younger brother.”
Interestingly, Rawat, had during the day in an interview to a TV channel stated that Sidhu was the “future” of Punjab Congress and he would be given an important role. Later, in the day he climbed down from his earlier stand when he said he had spoken to Sidhu twice and all was fine. “Sidhu is a popular leader. His silence has been deciphered differently by people. But he is on party’s side. He is a open minded leader. He understands that it will be better for him to be in a party like Congress, which is a big and democratic party.”
Commenting further on Sidhu, he said, there is no indication from his side that he is not with the Congress. “He has a style of working, which he knows, will find acceptance in Congress.”
Reacting to the reports that Sidhu would either be named the PPCC president or Deputy Chief Minister, Rawat said, “We will utilise him in Punjab and in Delhi also. He is a popular leader.”
Amarinder, it is learnt, has taken a strong stand against Sidhu to be named PPCC chief or to be inducted in his Cabinet as deputy CM. The CM is unlikely to relent and would only stuck on his earlier stand by giving him the Power department. Sidhu had organised a parallel function in his native Manwala village when Rawat and Amarinder were having a party prorate in Khatkar Kalan and Chandigarh.
On workers being upset with the party and fissures appearing during his visit, Rawat said, “there is nothing serious. Everybody realises they have to fight unitedly. The party acknowledges the contribution of every leader and worker and everybody will be given their due.”
On Rajya Sabha MPs Partap Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo’s rabble rousing, Rawat said they both are senior leaders and the party needs their cooperation, “We should not speak outside. Instead of getting to know any issue through media, and rather we should speak at party platforms.”
RAHUL IN PUNJAB ON OCTOBER 2
Rawat said senior party leader Rahul Gandhi is likely to be in Punjab on October 2. “We are planning a party programme. We are just chalking out what is to be done considering Covid-19 pandemic. We will be able to give the plan a final shape by Wednesday,” he said.
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