Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, highlighting governance issues in the state and requesting for a meeting to present a 13-point agenda for the party’s campaign for the Assembly polls due next year.
The letter, which was shared on Twitter today, is dated October 15, a day after Mr Sidhu met Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and K C Venugopal and withdrew his resignation as Punjab Congress president, saying “everything has been sorted out”. However, he did not put his designation as state Congress chief in the letter.
— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) October 17, 2021
But Mr Sidhu’s request to the Congress president to direct the Charanjit Singh Channi government to address issues flagged by him indicates that his tussle with the Chief Minister, which started over cabinet reshuffle and appointments, is far from over.
In the letter, Mr Sidhu starts out by asserting that “this is Punjab’s last chance for resurrection and redemption” and goes on to say that from being the richest state in the country at one point, Punjab is now the most indebted.
He then flags key issues of the state, including the sacrilege cases, Punjab’s drug menace, agricultural issues, employment opportunities, sand mining and welfare of backward castes, electricity and transport and stresses that they need to resolved at the earliest.
The state Congress chief mentions that this might be “the last damage control exercise” and if this fails, the “Mafia-Raj ruling the state patronized by the Badals” will take Punjab to the point of financial emergency, joblessness, corruption and agrarian crisis from which “there will be no return”.
“Thus, I request you please kindly consider these points and give your august direction to the State Government to act in the best interests of the People of Punjab immediately,” he writes.
His request to the Congress president to give directions to the Charanjit Singh Channi government indicates that the state party chief’s tussle with the Chief Minister is far from over.
Mr Sidhu, who led the mutiny that compelled Captain Amarinder Singh to resign as Chief Minister, ran into trouble with Mr Channi soon after he took over. Making his displeasure with appointments and cabinet reshuffle under the new chief minister, he resigned as Punjab Congress chief last month. The next day, after a meeting with the Chief Minister, he was back on board. But his absence at the wedding of Mr Channi yet again signalled that all is not well.
Mr Sidhu’s letter has requested Mrs Gandhi for a personal audience so that he can present a 13-point agenda to be part of the Congress manifesto for the 2022 Assembly polls. That, he said, is separate from the issues flagged in this letter in their “long-term vision”.