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Punjab Congress crisis: Apology rider set by CM team to meet Sidhu

Move comes as yet another twist to a long-running feud between the two leaders that threatens to derail the party's re-election bid
Amarinder Singh

Our Bureau, Agencies   |   New Delhi   |   Published 20.07.21, 10:15 PM

Punjab minister Brahm Mohindra on Tuesday ruled out any personal meeting with newly-appointed state Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu till he resolves his issues with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

He said this on a day when Sidhu went to Amritsar, where he got a rousing welcome from his supporters and Congress workers.

These are the first such remarks by any minister after Sidhu was elevated to the key post, indicating that the crisis in the Punjab Congress is still not over.

In a statement issued here, Mohindra said the party high-command's decision to appoint Sidhu as the state Congress chief is welcome.

"However, I will not meet him (Sidhu) till he meets the chief minister and resolves his issues with him," he said.

Mohindra said Singh is the leader of the Congress Legislative Party (CLP) and he is duty-bound to follow him.

Besides being the CLP leader, the chief minister also heads the cabinet of which he is a part, the senior Congress leader said, making it clear that unless Sidhu sorts out all issues with Singh, he will not meet him personally.

"We have a collective responsibility and hence, I would refrain from meeting the newly-appointed (party) president till issues between him and the chief minister are resolved," Mohindra said.

Singh last week was learnt to have told All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary Harish Rawat that he will not meet Sidhu until he tenders an apology for his "derogatory" tweets against him.

The suspense over a possible truce between Sidhu and Singh continues as there has been no reaction from the chief minister over the Amritsar East MLA's elevation to the post of Punjab Congress chief.

Before going to Amritsar, Sidhu had been calling on ministers and legislators in Chandigarh to mobilise support.

He had already met several ministers, including Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Charanjit Singh Channi, Razia Sultana, Sukhbinder Sarkaria, Gurpreet Singh Kangar and Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa.

Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal has also congratulated Sidhu on becoming the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC).

Sidhu will pay obeisance at the Golden Temple in Amritsar on Wednesday and many Congress leaders are expected to be there.

"Reports of @sherryontop seeking time to meet @capt_amarinder are totally false. No time has been sought whatsoever. No change in stance... CM won't meet #NavjotSinghSidhu till he publicly apologises for his personally derogatory social media attacks against him," Raveen Thukral wrote.

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