Some new recipe seems to be cooking behind the scenes in the Congress going by the contrasting shift in party’s Punjab chief Capt Amarinder Singh’s stance over cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu’s joining the fold.
Days after he termed Sidhu “another clown”, Captain Amarinder now says he has no objection to Sidhu and other Awaaz-e-Punjab leaders’ joining the Congress. He said he was actually the first person to invite Sidhu to join the Congress when the former cricketer had quit the BJP.
Amarinder had taken a U-turn over the issue after meeting AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi last week, indicating that talks were on between Sidhu and the party high command.
Final discussions with Sidhu will take place this week and a decision is expected before Diwali, said an AICC source. He said Sidhu had sought time to decide on Awaaz-e-Punjab merger or alliance with the Congress. Party poll strategist Prashant Kishor is also privy to the ongoing parleys, said sources.
Meanwhile, Amarinder, who met ex-servicemen in Patiala on Monday, told the media that he had always maintained that every leader conforming to the Congress policies was welcome to join the party.
“I don’t know why I’m being asked this question repeatedly,” said Amarinder. “Whether it’s Sidhu or the Bains brothers or Pargat Singh Bhatia, the doors of my party have always been open to them,” said Amarinder, adding that these people had their roots in the Congress and could not possibly stayed away from the party for long.
“The interests of the party are supreme. And if the party is strengthened by the joining of like-minded people, we are open to that,” he said.