Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu is now trying to carve his own political space after being kept waiting for his return to the state Cabinet.
His meeting with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has not yielded any result so far, while the Congress high command, which was aggressive on Sidhu’s issue, has also turned complacent, sources said.
Sidhu has suddenly become active in Punjab politics over the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib, an incident which occurred way back in 2015.
On Tuesday, Sidhu went to the Burj Jawahar Singh gurdwara, the epicentre of the sacrilege incidents in Faridkot district in 2015, and said that the report prepared in connection with the case by the Special Investigation Team should be made public.
Without mincing words, he had said: “More law, less justice… Justice delayed is justice denied.”
In his tweets, Sidhu has hinted that things are not smooth, saying: “When you keep your conscious mortgage, then no power matters.”
The activeness of the cricketer-turned-politician is being closely watched by the Congress, while the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) is also trying to fish in troubled waters given that Punjab will go to the polls next year.
Sidhu’s return to the Punjab Cabinet too hangs in balance as there is no indication from the Chief Minister of this happening, despite the efforts of the Congress leadership and the party’s General Secretary in-charge of Punjab, Harish Rawat.
Amarinder Singh and Sidhu have met twice recently, but there has been no breakthrough from either side. Sources said that Sidhu wants his old portfolio, something which Amarinder Singh isn’t willing to concede.
Sidhu last met Amarinder Singh on March 17. A day after the meeting, when the Punjab CM was asked about Sidhu’s rehabilitation, he had said: “Everyone wants him to be part of our team.”
The party’s central leadership is keen on accommodating the ex-cricketer, who has been a star campaigner for the party.
Since Harish Rawat is recuperating from Covid after being discharged from the hospital, more time may be taken to decide organisational issues.
Sidhu had resigned from the Punjab Cabinet in July 2019 after being stripped of a key portfolio. He was in charge of local bodies but was then shifted to the power department.
The simmering tension between the two leaders had reached a boiling point when Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur was denied a party ticket for the Lok Sabha elections in 2019, sources said.