Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has invited his biggest rival and critic and cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Sidhu for lunch on Wednesday. Announcing the unprecedented invitation, Amarinder Singh’s media advisor RaveenThukral tweeted, “The state and national politics are expected to be discussed during the lunch meeting between the two.” This has led to speculation of a compromise between the two. The two leaders have been cold-shouldering each other in the past and it would perhaps be their first meeting to bury the hatchet.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has invited Navjot Singh Sidhu for lunch on Wednesday. Earlier, there were indications of the possibility of reconciliation between the cricketer and the Chief Minister. Sidhu has been lying low ever since his resignation from the state Cabinet in July last year after the withdrawal of the important ministry.
The tension between Amarinder Singh and Sidhu became public in May last year after the Chief Minister accused the Congress MLA of not being able to handle the local body department and claimed that due to this, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress performed poorly in the urban regions.
Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan was also in dispute. Captain Amarinder Singh also indirectly targeted Sidhu. At the same time, Captain Amarinder Singh made a change in Navjot Singh Sidhu’s ministry. In protest, Navjot Singh Sidhu did not take charge of the new ministry. He later sent his resignation to the then Congress national president Rahul Gandhi.
After resigning from the cabinet, Sidhu was staying away from all Congress activities. However, Political observers claim the efforts of Congress’ state in-charge Harish Rawat have borne results as he was instrumental in pacifying Sidhu.
After Asha Kumari, former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat was made in charge of Punjab Congress. Harish Rawat was very active about Sidhu as soon as he took charge. During this, Rawat met Sidhu many times and also assured him of a big role in the party. As a result, Sidhu was again active in his constituency. Harish Rawat met Sidhu at his residence in Amritsar, after which he was seen at the Congress tractor rally held in Moga last month. This rally was held against the new agricultural laws of the centre.
Rahul Gandhi’s KisanBachao rally was organized in Moga in protest against the three agricultural laws. Navjot Singh Sidhu also attended this rally. This was the first time Sidhu attended any party function after resigning. During this time Navjot Singh Sidhu lashed out at the central government as well as his government and asked many questions to the Captain government. However, the captain did not answer any of Sidhu’s questions during the rally.
The Punjab CM and Sidhu also shared the stage on November 4 at Jantar Mantar in Delhi where all Punjab Congress MLAs and ministers protested against the Union government over the recently-passed farm laws. In the protest, Sidhu said that the “Union government wants to suppress the voice of Punjab Chief Minister and MLAs and this will not be allowed”.
Punjab had also reciprocated the gesture and mentioned Sidhu’s name in his speech after which both the leaders fiercely attacked the Centre for favouring corporates over the existing system of ‘mandis’.
Political speculation has intensified in Punjab after the captain’s invitation to return to government. It is being speculated that maybe after this meeting, the ice may melt in their relationship. If this happens, the path of Sidhu’s return to the Punjab government will also open. Sources also claim that the Congress High Command is planning to appoint Sidhu as the Deputy CM of Punjab to take advantage of Sidhu’s national popularity.