Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 30
The suspense over the resolution of issues raised by Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu continued on Thursday evening after a two-hour meeting between him and Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi.
There was no immediate briefing after the meeting held at the Punjab Bhavan here, two days after Sidhu resigned as the Punjab Congress chief following differences over the appointment of “tainted” officials and ministers.
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Channi first left the meeting venue around 6 pm while Sidhu came out about half an hour later.
No party leader spoke to the media after the meeting concluded.
Earlier in the day, Sidhu reached Chandigarh from Patiala to meet Channi.
The meeting came a day after Channi reached out to Sidhu and offered to resolve issues through talks.
Just before his meeting with Channi, Sidhu attacked the state’s new DGP, alleging that he wrongly indicted two Sikh youths in a desecration case and gave a clean chit to the Badals. Sidhu had resigned as the Punjab Congress chief on Tuesday. His abrupt resignation triggered a fresh turmoil in the party’s Punjab unit.
Days after the deadlock between Sidhu and the party leadership over the appointments of the DGP and AG, besides those of “tainted” ministers, the cricketer-turned-politician showed first signs of thaw in the strained relations.
The meeting was said to have been arranged after a number of MLAs called up both Sidhu and the Chief Minister to find an amicable solution.
Sidhu earlier tweeted: “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 !”
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 !
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) September 30, 2021
Sources said that in the backdrop of the development related to Capt Amarinder Singh meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Sidhu’s gesture towards Channi could be understood.
“What transpires in the meeting between the two, only time will tell, but there could be changes in the top posts as desired by Sidhu. The action plan in sacrilege case and other election promises would also be discussed,” a senior leader earlier said.
As the drama continues, Congress leader Sunil Jakhar hits out at Sidhu, he tweeted: “Enough is enough. Put an end to attempts to undermine the authority of CM time and again. Aspersions being cast on selection of AG & DGP is actually questioning the integrity/competence of CM and Home Minister to deliver results. It’s time to put the foot down and clear the air.”
Enough is enough. Put an end to attempts to undermine the authority of CM time and again. Aspersions being cast on selection of AG & DGP is actually questioning the integrity/competence of CM and Home Minister to deliver results. It’s time to put the foot down and clear the air.
— Sunil Jakhar (@sunilkjakhar) September 30, 2021
Factionalism in Punjab Congress has come to the fore over recent appointments of the new cabinet and other top officials.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Channi had said, “I have spoken to Sidhu sahab over telephone today. The party is supreme and the government accepts the party’s ideology and follows that. (I told him that) You come, sit and talk.”
“If you (Sidhu) feel there is anything wrong, you can point it out,” he said.
When asked what was Sidhu’s response, Channi had said the leader told him that he would sit and talk, and would give him time for a meeting.
Channi said his government will set up a team under a special prosecutor for fighting cases in courts.
“We are setting up a team of a special prosecutor and 10 members, and it will handle our (state government) important cases,” he said.
“A special team will be appointed. Therefore, there should not be any doubt on me. Everything will be transparent,” he further said.
He said, “Whatever feedback we got from colleagues and others and whosoever could be appointed, we appointed. But the decisions will be taken according to the people of Punjab.”
“I have no objection or any ego in anything. I am very clear. If anything sends wrong message to people, I will not be rigid on it,” he said in an apparent reference to recent appointments.