Rajat Sharma

Will Sidhu accept Channi as leader?

akbThe Congress in Punjab is yet to decide who will be its chief ministerial candidate in the assembly elections. Hardly two weeks are left for the state to go to the polls on February 20 and yet there is no clarity about who will be the CM candidate. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is likely to announce the name of CM candidate on Sunday when he will address a virtual rally for Ludhiana, according to media reports.

The party has been doing a tele-survey via phone calls on who should become the CM candidate, similarly on the lines of Aam Aadmi Party, when it announced the name of Bhagwant Mann as its candidate for chief ministership after a tele-survey. According to media reports, there is a strong buzz about present chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi leading by a wide margin over PCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is also a strong contender.

Sidhu, who had gone to Mata Vaishno Devi shrine to seek the goddess’s blessings, seems to be worried. On Friday, he made a cryptic remark. Sidhu told his supporters, “I want to tell you one thing. The aim of ushering in a New Punjab lies in the hands of Chief Minister. Jaisa mukhyamantri hoga, waisa hi yeh state hoga. In the last 25-30 years, there were two chief minister who did the ‘bedaa-gark’ (destroyed the state). This time, elect a CM, whose honesty will percolate deeper to the lowest level. If you put a thief on top, truth will vanish. Remember my words. “Ooper wala (those at the top) want a weak chief minister, who can do ‘ta thaiya, ta thaiya’ for them (dance to their tune). Naach meri bulbul, tujhe paisa milega, kahaan kadar daan hamare jaisa milega. They want this type of CM”. He was speaking at a public function in Amritsar. Soon after he made this remark, his supporters shouted slogan “Hamara CM Kaisa Ho, Navjot Sidhu Jaisa Ho”. This remark soon triggered a row. It was perceived to be against the party high command.

As this remark caused a furore, Sidhu had to appear again before cameras and clarify. He said “For the last 25 years, there were chief ministers in Punjab who danced to the tune of the Centre, even when they did not like the tune. They danced like puppets on a string. ..It is a lie to say that I am unhappy with the CM. Channi is my younger brother. I was never angry with him.”

Sidhu’s media advisers clarified that by saying “Ooper wala”, he did not mean the Congress high command, but the Centre which wants a weak CM.

Sidhu is on record of having said several times in the past that he has not entered politics, to become a ‘showpiece’. In other words, he is hinting that, his ambition is to become the chief minister of Punjab. He has also said, “if I am made a darshani ghoda (decorative horse), it will not be good”.. In other words, he is threatening to revolt, he will become a sanyasi and leave politics.

Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur had said two days ago, “what is the use of being in politics, if one does not get a high post?” In other words, there is no use staying in politics, if one does not become the CM. Navjot Kaur also said, her husband used to earn Rs 25 lakh per hour, and she herself used to earn Rs 5 lakh a month. Both of them have no dearth of money, but if Sidhu does not get a high post, then, in other words, she was hinting at a revolt.

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