Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh and other senior party leaders paid a courtesy call on Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal here on Monday evening, but the party's disgruntled MP from Amritsar Navjot Singh Sidhu was told to stay away.
"It was a conscious decision on the BJP's part to keep Sidhu away from Badal sahib," revealed a top leader of the saffron party.
In recent days, Sidhu has upped the ante against the Badals, especially deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal, over scuttling of development projects in his constituency.
The MP, who arrived here with Rajnath in the party's chartered plane on Sunday evening, maintained unusual silence during the meeting of the Punjab BJP's core committee on Monday, even as state BJP president Kamal Sharma, cabinet minister Chunni Lal Bhagat and several former state unit presidents gave their suggestions.
Rajnath has apparently been able to make Sidhu keep mum, at least for the time being, and not air his issues publicly against the BJP's alliance partner (Shiromani Akali Dal). It is learnt that the CM has also been assured by the top BJP leadership, which met him on Monday evening, that the MP has been "reined in."
After meeting Badal, Rajnath left for the airport to catch a plane for Delhi. He was accompanied by senior party leaders JP Nadda, Shyam Jajju and Ram Lal to Delhi, while Sidhu was conspicuous by his absence at the time of Rajnath's departure. Reportedly, the MP left for Amritsar.
Sidhu had met Rajnath in Delhi last week to air his grievances and hand over a list of Amritsar's development projects allegedly scuttled by the Akali-BJP government since 2007.
Interestingly, during Monday's press conference, Rajnath called the Sidhu issue an internal matter of the BJP, even though the MP had asserted earlier that the matter had to be settled with the coalition partner (SAD).
During his two-day visit to Chandigarh, Rajnath also held meetings with the core committees of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and union territory Chandigarh to plan the strategy for the parliamentary elections.