‘Reconcilation’ among warring factions in Punjab Cong begins

Chandigarh, July 17 (IANS) Within hours of the meeting between Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and AICC Secretary General and state in-charge Harish Rawat amid the ‘tussle’ over talks of appointing Navjot Singh Sidhu as the new state Congress chief, a reconciliation between the ‘warring’ leaders was held here on Saturday to project a united face ahead of the Assembly polls scheduled early next year.
Speaker Rana K.P. Singh, Pratap Singh Bajwa, Rajya Sabha MP and former PPCC President who is known in the political circles as a strong critic of the Chief Minister, and Cabinet minister Rana Gurmeet Sodhi called on Amarinder Singh at his residence on Saturday evening.
Photos of the meeting were shared by the Chief Minister’s Office.
During the meeting between Amarinder Singh and Rawat earlier in the day, the former categorically told Rawat that he won’t meet Sidhu until he apologises for his ‘derogatory’ tweets.
Reiterating that he would accept any decision taken by interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Amarinder Singh termed the meeting with Rawat as fruitful, adding that the latter would take up the issues raised by him with Sonia Gandhi.
The meeting between the two senior Congress leaders lasted for over an hour.
Minutes after the meeting, Amarinder Singh’s media advisor Raveen Thukral tweeted a statement by the CM that said: “Had a fruitful meeting with @harishrawatcmuk. Reiterated that any decision of @INCIndia President will be acceptable to all. Raised certain issues which he said he’ll take up with @INCIndia president.”
AICC General Secretary Rawat reached Chandigarh on Saturday morning to meet Amarinder Singh. He returned to Delhi later in the day.
“I have just returned to Delhi after meeting Amarinder Singh Ji. I am glad that a lot of the things that are being discussed have been proven pointless and Captain Sahib has reiterated his important statement that any decision taken by the Congress president will be acceptable to all,” Rawat said in a tweet.
It has been reliably learnt that Rawat came to Chandigarh for a meeting between Amarinder Singh and his bete noire Sidhu, ahead of the official announcement of the latter’s appointment as the state unit chief by Sonia Gandhi.
However, an adamant Amarinder Singh, who is reportedly upset with Sidhu for targeting his government over the power crisis and the sacrilege issue, categorically told Rawat that there would be no rapprochement between the two until Sidhu apologises in public for his ‘derogatory tweets and interviews’, a senior Congress leader told IANS.
Conveying the party’s decision, Rawat informed the Chief Minister that there would be three to four working presidents of his choice along with Sidhu. He would also be free to revamp his Cabinet, Rawat reportedly told the Punjab Chief Minister.
An announcement in this regard could be made anytime, he said.
Interestingly, amid the hectic political developments in Chandigarh, Sidhu, a former Cabinet minister in Punjab, called on state unit chief Sunil Jakhar at his residence in Panchkula, near here.
The duo held a meeting which is seen by the political circles as Sidhu’s effort to take everybody along in the party after he is eventually appointed as the state unit chief.
After the meeting, Sidhu called Jakhar his ‘elder brother’ and a ‘guiding force’. Jakhar, in turn, described Sidhu as a ‘capable man’.
Later, Sidhu met Cabinet ministers Sukhjinder Randhawa and Balbir Singh Sidhu, besides meeting senior leader Lal Singh, a close confidant of the Chief Minister, and legislators Raja Warring, Kulbir Zira, Darshan Brar and Barindermeet Singh.
Randhawa told the media after the meeting that “all is well in the party”.
“Seeking guidance of Presidents of the illustrious Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee, Conversations with wise men worth months of Education!!” Sidhu tweeted.

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