CHANDIGARH: After eight months of exile, former Punjab cabinet minister and firebrand Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu met the party's interim president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Wednesday and discussed with her the roadmap for the revival of Punjab.
After the meeting, Sidhu said he was called by the party leadership to discuss the current situation in the state. "I was called to Delhi by the party high command where I met Priyanka and Sonia. I shared my roadmap on the revival of Punjab with the party leadership and the ways in which we can restore the pride of the state. It is the same roadmap which I have shared with the people over many years of my public life," he added.
This meeting was held amid the ongoing rumours that Sidhu might leave the Congress and join either the BJP or AAP. Eyeing Punjab after the win in Delhi in a move to restructure the party organisation and to have a popular and credible Chief Ministerial face Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has been sending feelers to cricketer-turned-politician Sidhu to join the party.
A few days ago, Sidhu's sudden appearance at an event created ripples in the political circles. He was seen sitting with Akali Dal breakaway group Akali Dal Taksali leaders, headed by former MP Ranjit Sing Brahmpura. He also spoke to Congress MP from Amritsar Gurjeet Singh Aujla but did not speak to his bête noire Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Majithia who was also at the function.
On July 15, last year Sidhu had resigned from the Punjab cabinet after his portfolio of local bodies changed by Chief Minister Amarinder.
Sources said that AAP is looking for a CM face who could also end factionalism in the state unit of the party. Party’s Punjab President and Member of Parliament from Sangrur Bhagwant Mann said that Sidhu is an honest man. "Every person who loves Punjab and wants to work for the welfare of the state is welcome in the party,’’ he said and also clarified that there were no official talks with Sidhu so far.
Political strategist Prashant Kishore who was instrumental in letting Sidhu join the Congress ahead of the Punjab Assembly election in 2017, despite opposition from Amarinder, could be a bridge between Sidhu and the AAP convenor Kejriwal.
Sidhu had deliberately not campaigned for his party for the Delhi assembly elections despite being a star campaigner.