Navjot Singh Sidhu announced today that he had accepted to meet with Punjab Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi for talks, despite attempts by the Congress to appease him following his resignation as state Congress chief. His aide had previously stated that he “will stay Punjab Congress chief and lead the Congress in next year’s election,” implying that the cricketer-turned-politician might reconsider his resignation.
“Chief Minister has invited me for talks … will reciprocate by reaching Punjab Bhawan, Chandigarh at 3:00 PM today, he is welcome for any discussions!,” Mr. Sidhu said on Twitter.
Navjot Sidhu’s counsel, Mohammad Mustafa, assured the media this morning that the “issue will be resolved soon.”
“The Congress leadership understands Navjot Sidhu and Sidhu is not beyond the Congress leadership. He is not Amarinder Singh, who never cared for the Congress and its leadership,” Mr Mustafa said.
Mr Sidhu, he claims, “acts emotionally at times,” which the Congress leadership is aware of.
Mr. Sidhu, who was named Punjab Congress chief in July, announced his resignation on Tuesday, saying he could “never compromise on Punjab’s future and the agenda for Punjab’s welfare.”
He was dissatisfied with crucial appointments made by new Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, who took over from Mr Sidhu’s rival Amarinder Singh only a few weeks earlier.
The Gandhis were taken aback by Mr Sidhu’s resignation; Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra had backed him against Amarinder Singh, taking a big political risk so close to the election.
Mr Sidhu is said to have not spoken to the party’s leadership since resigning, and has turned down Punjab politicians who tried to appease him.
He released a video yesterday explaining his decision. “My fight is issue-based and I have stood by it for a long time. I cannot compromise with my ethics, my moral authority. What I witness is a compromise with issues, agenda in Punjab. I cannot misguide the high command nor can I let them be misguided,” Mr. Sidhu expressed himself in Punjabi.
On the phone with Mr Sidhu yesterday, Chief Minister Channi suggested that he would reconsider some of the appointments.
“I told Sidhu that the party believes in consultations, please come and we can fix this. If anyone has any objections to any appointment, then I am not rigid on that. There is no ego tussle,” Mr Channi told reporters.