After meeting Rahul, Capt lowers anti-Sidhu pitch; decision likely on Oct 26 | punjab | Hindustan Times
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After meeting Rahul, Capt lowers anti-Sidhu pitch; decision likely on Oct 26

Two days after terming Navjot Singh Sidhu a clown, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh has softened his stand on the former cricketer’s inclusion in the party, after meeting the All India Congress Committee vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Friday.

punjab Updated: Oct 22, 2016 10:21 IST
Vishal Rambani
Though Amarinder claimed that Sidhu was not discussed in the meeting with Rahul, but he appeared softer while replying to media queries on the issue.
Though Amarinder claimed that Sidhu was not discussed in the meeting with Rahul, but he appeared softer while replying to media queries on the issue.(HT File )

Two days after terming Navjot Singh Sidhu a clown, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president Capt Amarinder Singh has softened his stand on the former cricketer’s inclusion in the party, after meeting the All India Congress Committee vice-president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi on Friday.

Though Amarinder claimed that Sidhu was not discussed in the meeting with Rahul, but he appeared softer while replying to media queries on the issue. “I am not in touch with them (Sidhu and his wife). Anyone who believes in the policies of the Congress is welcome to join, but without conditions,” said the former CM as he briefed the media.

Sources said during meeting with Rahul, Amarinder came to know that Congress high command was in touch with Sidhu, and the shift in his stance was an obvious outcome.

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“The backchannel talks are on with Sidhu, but nothing is final,” confirmed an AICC office-bearer, requesting anonymity. “No leader from Punjab is coordinating, but the parleys are on. A meeting of Rahul and Amarinder will be held on October 26 in the presence of Prashant Kishor, who, too, wants Sidhu in the fold,” he said.

Significantly, the timing of Amarinder diluted stand also coincides with former PPCC president and Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa’s raising pitch for Sidhu’s inclusion in the party. Terming Sidhu a youth icon, Bajwa has appealed to the high command to take him on board to consolidate the anti-Akali votes, citing Manpreet Badal’s Punjab People’s Party that divided anti-Akali votes in 2012, resulting in Congress’ missing on forming the government. “Victory in Punjab will revive the Congress in the entire country, thus there is no need to take chances. We should join hands with anybody and everybody to bring together anti-Akali votes,” Bajwa told Hindustan Times.

He said he had made a similar appeal in October 2010 to the party high command to take Manpreet (Badal) on board, but due to the overconfidence of some leaders, it didn’t materialise.

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