Chandigarh: Just a day ahead of his ‘coronation’, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Thursday extended an invite to all lawmakers for tea on Friday and then attend the ceremony of the new state Congress team taking charge led by Navjot Singh Sidhu.
“Punjab CM Capt Amarinder Singh has invited all Punjab Congress MLAs, MPs and senior party functionaries at Punjab Bhawan for tea at 10 a.m. on Friday. They will all then go to Punjab Congress Bhawan together from there for the installation of the new PPCC team, ” Chief Minister’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral informed in a tweet.
Sidhu sent an invite, signed by some 62 legislators, through working presidents, Kuljit Singh Nagra and Sangat Singh Gilzian, to the ‘sulking’ Chief Minister to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
Earlier, the camp of the Chief Minister was adamant on its demand that Sidhu should first apologise publicly over his purported remarks against the government over the power crisis and the sacrilege issue and then he would meet him.
In a first show of solidarity and strength, Sidhu, accompanying 62 legislators, comprising four Cabinet ministers, on Wednesday paid obeisance at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
However, the Chief Minister and his close confidants were absent from Sidhu’s maiden visit to his constituency Amritsar (East) and religious places there.
That was Sidhu’s first visit to Amritsar after being appointed to the post by Congress President Sonia Gandhi on July 18, ending days of hectic lobbying and parleys within the Congress in Punjab.
Four ministers — Sukhjinder Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Bajwa, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria and Charanjit Channi — were among those 62 legislators who signed the letter, urging the Chief Minister to attend the installation ceremony of the new party chief and four working presidents — Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Kuljit Singh Nagra and Pawan Goel.
Sidhu will be replacing outgoing President Sunil Jakhar, a prominent Hindu face who was at the helm for over four years.
Toughening his stance, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had earlier clarified that he won’t meet Sidhu till he publicly apologised to him.
“CM won’t meet Navjot Singh Sidhu till he publicly apologises for his personally derogatory social media attacks against him, ” Chief Minister’s media advisor Raveen Thukral had said.
Cabinet Minister Brahm Mohindra had also ruled out a personal meeting with Sidhu till he resolves his issues with the Chief Minister.
In a statement, Mohindra had said the decision to appoint Sidhu had been taken by the high command and was welcome.
“However, I will not meet him (Sidhu) till he meets the Chief Minister and resolves his issues with him, ” Mohindra had said, adding Amarinder Singh was the leader of the Congress Legislature Party and all were duty-bound to follow him.