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Burying the hatchet : Navjot Singh Sidhu takes charge as Punjab Congress chief in the presence of CM

 Chandigarh:Navjot Singh Sidhu formally took over as the president of the Punjab Congress in Chandigarh on Friday in the presence of chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

The party showed up to put up a united show after months of bickering in the run-up to the assembly elections early next year.

A day after the chief minister softened his stance towards Sidhu by deciding to attend the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee team’s installation ceremony, Capt Amarinder Singh struck a conciliatory note in his address to party workers, saying “It is your responsibility to support the party president.”

After taking charge at the state Congress headquarters, Sidhu was in form and said there was no difference between an ordinary worker of the party and its state unit chief. “Every Congress worker in Punjab has become the chief of the party’s state unit from today,” the Amritsar East MLA said.

The new working presidents of the Punjab Congress, namely Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Pawan Goel and Kuljit Singh Nagra, also assumed charge at the event at the party’s state headquarters that was packed with supporters.

In his maiden speech after assuming charge here, Sidhu, who shared the stage with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh after a long break, also extended an olive branch to the protesting doctors, nurses, teachers and bus conductors, who have been on roads for their demands.

“My fights are not the issue, the farmers sitting in Delhi, the protesting TET qualified teachers, the problems of doctors and nurses and bus conductors are the real issues,” Sidhu said.

Reiterating his commitment to provide the electricity to the consumers in the state at the highly subsidized rates, Sidhu, donning his trademark maroon Pathani suit with a scarf, asked his government that why the electricity was being purchased for Rs 12 per unit.

He also talked about costly power purchase pacts signed by the previous SAD-BJP government and still continuing in the Congress government.

For quite some time, Sidhu has been targeting the Amarinder Singh-led government in the state by saying the state must do more for domestic and industrial consumer by giving power at Rs 3-5 per unit instead of surcharge inflated Rs 10-12 per unit, along 24-hour supply with no power cuts and free power up to 300 units to all.

 

 

 “Today every Congress worker has become the president, no difference between leader and workers,” he said.

Remembering his ties with Sidhu’s family, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in his speech said they would work together for the state.

“I was commissioned in the Army, the year Sidhu was born. When my mother asked me to enter politics, his (Sidhu) father helped me. I used to go to his house when he was about six years old,” said Amarinder Singh.

Before Sidhu assumed the charge as the state President at the party office, Sidhu met the Chief Minister at the Punjab Bhawan here for the tea meeting.

The meeting between Sidhu and Singh, who had been at loggerheads, was cordial.

According to a video from the event, Sidhu greeted Amarinder Singh with folded hands and broke the ice by saying: “How are you, sir? Such a pleasure.”

Amarinder Singh had invited all Congress MLAs and MPs for breakfast an hour before the new team to take charge, comprising four working presidents — Kuljit Singh Nagra, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, and Pawan Goel.

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