Navjot Singh Sidhu as Delhi Congress chief? Party denies reports, says no formal discussion on Sheila Dikshit’s successor yet

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Published: August 1, 2019 11:47:22 AM

Navjot Singh Sidhu and the Punjab CM have been at loggerheads since the cricketer-turned-politician attended the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan in Pakistan. During that visit, Sidhu also created a furore when he hugged the Pakistan Army chief.

Navjot Singh SidhuAs reports of Navjot Singh Sidhu being among the probables started doing the rounds, some Congress leaders denied that the party had made any such decision.

The Congress party has denied any talk of resettling former Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu in Delhi after his bitter fallout with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. The clarification came from senior Congress leader PC Chacko amid reports of Sidhu being considered for appointment as the Delhi unit chief of the party to succeed Sheila Dikshit who passed away on July 20. As reports of Sidhu being among the probables started doing the rounds, some Congress leaders denied that the party had made any such decision.

The reports stated that the Delhi Congress chief is likely to be finalised only after the national party president is finalised. “There is a potential possibility that Sidhu is given the Delhi PCC responsibility,” news agency ANI had quoted sources as saying on Wednesday.

Stalemate over the question of party leadership over two months after the Lok Sabha election results were announced is likely to delay any decision on Delhi as well. The grand old party hasn’t been able to finalise on a candidate to head the party after Rahul Gandhi stepped down on July 3.

Congress’ Delhi in-charge PC Chacko told news agency ANI that no meeting of the Pradesh Congress Committee had taken place yet. “There is no such discussion in my knowledge,” Chacko was quoted as saying. Assembly elections in Delhi are scheduled for early next year.

Sidhu, an MLA from Amritsar East, was shifted from Local Government and Tourism and Cultural Affairs Departments to the Power, New, and Renewable Energy Resources portfolio during a cabinet reshuffle in June. After the reallocation, Sidhu sent his resignation to chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on July 15.

The 55-year-old and the Punjab CM have been at loggerheads since Sidhu attended the swearing-in ceremony of Imran Khan in Pakistan. During that visit, Sidhu also created a furore when he hugged the Pakistan Army chief.

During the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year, the rift widened when Sidhu accused Amarinder of being responsible for his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu not being given a party ticket to contest from Chandigarh or Amritsar.

Amarinder had also blamed the cricketer-turned-politican for the Congress’ loss in Punjab in the Lok Sabha elections. Congress won eight out the 13 seats in Punjab. The SAD-BJP coalition won four seats while the Aam Aadmi Party could manage just one.

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