In a bid to pacify disgruntled party leader Navjot Singh Sidhu ahead of Assembly polls in Punjab, the Congress party is actively mulling to appoint him as the deputy chief minister of the state, a report in Times of India said.
Appointing Sidhu as the deputy to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will help the party to settle the voices of discontent within the ranks and pave the way for projecting Singh as the CM face when state goes to polls next year. The party leadership is confident that Singh will accept this option.
The party leadership is directly involved in brokering peace between the two leaders ever since Sidhu exited the Amarinder Singh government in July 2019. The Congress central leadership has been trying to rehabilitate Sidhu who had resigned as minister after he was divested of the Local Bodies portfolio in 2019. Congress leader and Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Rawat has been pushing for an important position for Sidhu.
There have also been talks of the possibility of appointing Sidhu as party state unit president.
The development is significant as Singh is expected to meet Sidhu over lunch on Wednesday. This will be the second luncheon meeting between the leaders. The first such meeting had taken place in November last year, seen as the first step to break the ice between the two sides. Singh had then said that he and Sidhu would continue to have cordial meetings.
Reports are already doing the rounds that the cricketer-turned-politician might be given an important “role” ahead of the 2022 polls.
Notably, Singh and Sidhu had not been on best of terms for the past two years. The tension between Singh and Sidhu had come out in the open in May 2019 when the CM blamed the former cricketer for “inept handling” of the Local Government Department, claiming it had resulted in “poor performance” of the Congress in urban areas in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Sidhu was stripped of key portfolios in a cabinet reshuffle, after which he resigned from the state cabinet.