Even as former chief minister and Amritsar MP Capt Amarinder Singh and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president Partap Singh Bajwa sat close at the bhog ceremony of former minister Chaudhary Jagjit Singh on Sunday, the two leaders, who have been sharing an acrimonious relationship, did not even bother to acknowledge each other's presence.
On the sidelines of the speeches by leaders in the bhog ceremony of the later Congress leader, all eyes remained focused on the place where Amarinder and Bajwa kept sitting close by for nearly an hour.
The senior party leadership of the state was present at the venue.
Amarinder was already there when the PPCC president arrived and sat away from the group where the former chief minister was sitting with Jalandhar MP Santokh Chaudhary, former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, Congress legislative party leader Sunil Jakhar and former MP Jagmit Brar among others.
Bajwa wished everybody as soon as he reached the venue, except Amarinder with the latter barely acknowledging his presence.
After a while, MP Santokh Chaudhary tried to play the "peacemaker" while urging Bajwa to sit close to Amarinder and Bhattal. On this, the PPCC chief sat next to the former chief minister.
Despite their proximity to each other they failed to break the ice and reluctance on their faces was quite visible.
This came to an end when the PPCC chief rose to address the gathering and changed his seat. Not only this, the two Congress leaders did not acknowledge each other in their speeches even. Bhattal quietly watched the cold war between the two leaders and preferred to remain silent.
"They should have at least acknowledged each other since it was an occasion where all rank and file of the party was watching them. This could have signalled unity in the top brass. But it seems their rivalry is more important than the party," rued a senior leader who watched the entire episode.
Meanwhile, while paying tributes to Chaudhary Jagjit Singh, both Amarinder and Bajwa, projected the late leader's son Surinder Singh as his political heir. "Come forward and do politics the way your father was doing. I assure you that the entire Congress will support you like a family member and we would ensure all sort of help to you," said Amarinder.
Bajwa too asked Jagjit's son to harness the ground prepared by this father in order to contest the next Vidhan Sabha polls. Former Lok Sabha speaker Meera Kumar also termed Chaudhary as a national leader of the Dalit community.