‘Sidhu 62, Captain 15’: Punjab Rift Widens as Cong Chief Parades MLAs in Show of Strength in Amritsar

Newly appointed Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu marshalled a group of 62 MLAs to Golden Temple in Amritsar on Wednesday, apparently seen as a show of strength amid his ongoing standoff with chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

They are then expected to visit Durgiana Mandir and Ram Tirath Sthal.

Sidhu had invited all 77 Congress lawmakers to pay obeisance at Golden Temple before he takes over formally the role of the Punjab Congress chief, but only 62 of them turned up at this residence in Amritsar, according to his aides.

Perneet Kaur loyalist Deepinder Dhillon, a senior Congress leader from Zirakpur was also present at Sidhu’s house. Other prominent lawmakers included Raja Waring, Dr Raj Kumar Verka, Inderbir Bolaria, Barinder Dhillon, Madan Lal Jalapuri, Harminder Gill, Harjot Kamal, Harminder Jassi, Joginder Pal, Pargat Singh, Gobaya and Sukhjinder Randhawa.

With the number game on, it was the opposition BJP which seemed to be savouring the power tussle within the Congress. “Game on. Sidhu 62, Capt 15,’’ tweeted BJP national spokesman RP Singh.

Though Amarinder has so far remained silent on Sidhu reaching out to party MLAs, but his media advisor Raveen Thukral had on Tuesday reiterated that the CM would not meet Sidhu until he apologised for his “derogatory” statements against him in the past. “Reports of sherryontop seeking time to meet capt_amarinder are totally false. No time has been sought whatsoever. No change in stance… CM won’t meet Navjot Singh Sidhu till he publicly apologises for his personally derogatory social media attacks against him,” tweeted Thukral.

Senior cabinet minister Brahm Mohindra has already extended his support to the CM stating that he would not meet Sidhu until the issues between him and Amarinder were not sorted.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday appointed Navjot Singh Sidhu as the new president of the party’s Punjab unit, notwithstanding the strong opposition from chief minister Amarinder Singh. Gandhi also appointed four working presidents to assist Sidhu in the run-up to the next assembly elections.

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