The Punjab Congress Bhawan in Sector 15 in Chandigarh is decked up for the installation ceremony of the new PPCC team. (Ravi Kumar/HT)
The Punjab Congress Bhawan in Sector 15 in Chandigarh is decked up for the installation ceremony of the new PPCC team. (Ravi Kumar/HT)

Sidhu reaches out, Capt to attend coronation event on Friday

New state Cong chief writes to CM, invites him for the function; it is learnt that AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi called the party’s senior leaders, including Punjab CM, to be present at the event
By Gurpreet Singh Nibber, Chandigarh
PUBLISHED ON JUL 23, 2021 01:37 AM IST

Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh will attend the coronation ceremony of of the new Congress team under Navjot Singh Sidhu, his media adviser said, signalling truce in the dissension-riven party.

The move came after Sidhu, in an apparent bid to bury the differences with the CM, wrote a letter on Thursday requesting Amarinder to come for the installation ceremony. “I have no personal agenda. My resolve and commitment on Punjab’s issues and fulfilling high command’s pro-people 18-point agenda for the welfare of every Punjabi is well-known to you and all,” Sidhu said. “Thus, as the eldest of our Punjab Congress family, I request you to please come and bless the new team,” wrote Sidhu.

Over an hour later, CM’s media adviser Raveen Thukral tweeted: “Capt Amarinder Singh has invited all Punjab Congress MLAs, MPs and senior party functionaries at Punjab Bhawan for tea at 10am on Friday. They will all then go to Punjab Congress Bhawan together from there for the installation of the new Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee team.”

Earlier, Kuljit Singh Nagra and Sangat Singh Gilzian, two of the four newly appointed working presidents for the state party unit, extended a formal invite to the CM at his farmhouse in Mohali’s Siswan for the installation ceremony. The invitation letter was signed by over 55 legislators. “The 30-minute meeting was very cordial and the CM promptly accepted the invitation. It’s a party function and all are attending,” Nagra said.

Sidhu and Capt Amarinder Singh have been at loggerheads for the past few months, with the Amritsar East MLA attacking the CM over the desecration cases.

The chief minister also opposed his appointment as the state Congress chief and had said he won’t meet Sidhu until the cricketer-turned-politician apologises for his “derogatory” tweets against him.

Pawan Goel and Sukhwinder Singh Danny are the other two working presidents in the new Congress team that will formally take charge at the ceremony at 11am. Harish Rawat, the All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs, will attend as the representative of the party’s high command.

It is learnt that AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi called the party’s senior leaders, including Punjab CM, to be present at the event.

Four cabinet ministers, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Charanjit Singh Channi, have already backed Sidhu. Other ministers also said that they will attend the event as it is a Congress function.

Cabinet minister Brahm Mohindra has also decided to attend the function after CM’s announcement. “I am in the party and would attend the Sidhu’s taking over,” he said. Mohindra was the lone member of the state cabinet who had said that Sidhu should publicly apologise to the CM for his remarks against him.

MPs to attend the event too

Rajya Sabha MP Partap Singh Bajwa said Sidhu had called all the MPs and asked them to be a part of his coronation function. “We all (MPs) are reaching Chandigarh tomorrow for the function,” said Bajwa, who along with other Punjab MPs had sided with Captain last week. “No one has any thing personal against him (Sidhu)”, he added.

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