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When do big leaders fight!

Posted in Featured, View Point

Published on July 20, 2019 with No Comments

Two men in Punjab but of two different political acumen. On one side a Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh who carried lot of weight in the Congress party, on the other a BJP rebel who was a first time minister in the Punjab Cabinet. The Chief Minister is known to remain inaccessible to the his own members of the legislature. They are not given appointments despite reminders to the staff of Chief Minister. Navjot Singh Sidhu, known for this communication skills, and a first time minster would hold press conferences and would launch an onslaught on staunch rivals Sukhbir Badal, Bikram Jeet Singh Majithia; was known to have the door of his office open for the people of his constituency. He created ripples in the political circle, when he paid the pending power bills over two lakhs of rupees of the Shaheed Bhagat Singh Memorial from his own pocket, that were not paid by the government. In a short tenure, his stature had risen to great heights, that the youth in Punjab had started calling him the next chief minister of Punjab. And he made big statement when he refused to accept the ticket for Amritsar for his wife after she was refused the ticket for Chandigarh by  the Congress leader  Priyanka Gandhi, that how would the Congress incumbent MP Gurjinder Singh Aujla would feel as he (Navjot Singh) had undergone the same when he was refused ticket by BJP despite being Member of Parliament four times. Two men of opposite temperament, were bound to have a show down, but that would occur so soon !

The seeds of rivalry between the two were sown the day, when Sidhu made a lateral entry in Punjab politics on the eve of Punjab assembly in February 2017 elections as Navjot Singh Sidhu was drawing more crowds than the Captain and was in high demand by other candidates too.

Navjot Sidhu made no bones about who is “captain” was the Congress stormed to power in three states where he campaigned extensively. For Congress he was the new face for Sikh voters outside Punjab, what earlier used to Capt Amarinder Singh. He was more comfortable interacting with Rahul Gandhi and his sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. As Sidhu flaunted his proximity to the Gandhis, his relationship with Amarinder remained an uneasy one at a time many states are witnessing a generational tussle within the party.

Sidhu was the man who was taking on the Badals for having not acted against who caused the desecration of Guru Granth Sabib, and the tussle between him and Captain turned full blown war after Sidhu left the Chief Minister  red-faced by his “friendly match with Badals” jibe on eve of Lok Sabha polls. Over two years had passed and no action was taken against those found guilty and Sidhu stated the obvious what most of the Punjabi were now saying against the Captain. In political circles it caused ripples, where as among the Punjabi, his statement found a strong favour. Captain Amarinder hit back when the Congress faced a rout in all states, barring Kerala and Punjab. Punjab had been able to withstand the saffron surge but Amarinder blamed Sidhu for loss of urban vote and declared to divest him of the important local bodies department. Sidhu missed the first meet of the cabinet and held a parallel press conference and brought forth the achievements of his department to the media, and thus letting the rift grow even wider. Sidhu had his days to bask in the glory too. He was the only one invited by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan for the swearing in ceremony, and then Sidhu was the few leaders who were there for the foundation lying ceremony on the Pakistan side for the Kartarpur Corridor. His proximity to the Gandhi clan was a something that many leaders in Congress could not digest. With the political stocks now down for the Gandhis, the odds are stacked against Sidhu. Gandhi’s are not in a position to dictate terms to Capt Amarinder Singh as he moved and grew in Punjab’s political arena without the crutches of the Gandhi family. Options for Navjot Sidhu are limited, he can’t go back to BJP. Whatever may be the case, the final decision on Navjot Sidhu will come only from Captain Amarinder Singh. All eyes are now on the next move that these two leaders make.

 

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