Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, October 4
Amid the party high command working out a rapprochement between Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh and former Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, the two leaders cold-shouldered each other in the presence of former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, who arrived in the state on Sunday to kick-start his three-day ‘Kheti Bachao Yatra’ against the farm Acts.
The differences between the Chief Minister and Sidhu were visible at a public meeting today as both the leaders did not exchange pleasantries. While the Chief Minister missed out mentioning
Sidhu in his speech, the cricketer-turned-politician while thanking Congress president Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi and the senior leadership mentioned his bête noire at the end.
AICC general secretary and Punjab affairs incharge Harish Rawat, who played a key role to ensure Sidhu participated in the rally and share the stage, did address the firebrand party leader in his speeches. Sidhu was, however, seated away from Rahul and the Chief Minister.
During the tractor rally also, Sidhu was not made to sit on the tractor that had Rahul Gandhi and Capt Amarinder Singh riding on either side as Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief Sunil Jakhar drove it. Sidhu sat on the trailing tractor with Rawat and other leaders.
During his address, when Cabinet Minister Sukhjinder Randhawa gave him a slip on behalf of Rawat, Sidhu in a bodily gesture asked Randhawa to let him speak. “Ghodhe ko eshara hi kafi hota hai, lat kisi aur ko mar lo. Menu pela bhi betah ke rakhya si,” quipped Sidhu in a chaste Punjabi as he made an indirect reference to being sidelined in the government when he resigned as minister last year.
Last time the cricketer-turned-politician shared the stage with the Chief Minister was at the inauguration of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor in November last year.
Speaking at the rally, Sidhu put his government on the mat by asking it to come forward to help the farmers by paying the minimum support price (MSP), if the Centre stopped paying it.
Only recently, Capt Amarinder Singh made it clear that Sidhu could not be made PPCC president as Sunil Jakhar was doing a fine job, though he was welcome to join back as Power Minister.
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