In what is seen as a show of strength, nearly 60 Congress MLAs gathered at the residence of new state party chief Navjot Singh Sidhu in Amritsar on Wednesday, amid suspense over a possible truce between him and CM Amarinder Singh. The Congress has 80 MLAs in the state assembly.
Sidhu and Amarinder Singh have been at loggerheads for the past some time, with the Amritsar (East) MLA recently attacking the CM over the desecration cases.
The chief minister was also averse to his appointment as the state Congress chief. After Sidhu’s elevation, the CM had said that he won’t meet him until the cricketer-turned-politician apologises for his “derogatory” tweets against him.
Among the ministers who reached here were Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Charanjit Singh Channi and Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria besides outgoing state unit chief Sunil Jakhar.
The MLAs joined by Sidhu boarded luxury buses and went to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple, where a large number of Congress supporters gathered.
They also went to the Durgiana temple and Ram Tirath Sthal in Amritsar.
After paying obeisance at the Golden temple, Jakhar told reporters, “We sought blessings for a prosperous Punjab, in which we all contribute together.”
On Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s stance that he will not meet Sidhu till he publicly tenders an apology, some MLAs said there was no need for it.
Minister Randhawa, who was behind organising things in Amritsar, told reporters he was surprised at the “behaviour” of the chief minister.
Sidhu’s elevation as state unit chief has to be respected and accepted by all, irrespective of whatever differences there might have been in the past, he said.
Randhawa said even senior leader Partap Singh Bajwa and Sukhpal Singh Khaira earlier were at loggerheads with Amarinder Singh but now they have sunk their differences.
“Why can’t the chief minister sink his differences with Sidhu,” Randhawa asked.