Navjot Singh Sidhu formally assumes charge as Punjab Congress Chief

The new Punjab Congress team shared the stage with CM Capt Amarinder Singh, former state Congress president Sunil Jakhar and Congress general secretary Harish Rawat on the occasion

Navjot Singh Sidhu
Navjot Singh Sidhu

Bipin Bhardwaj

Cricketer-turned politician Navjot Singh Sidhu formally assumed charge as Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) president amid an impressive ceremony held at Punjab Congress Bhawan in Chandigarh on Friday.

Besides Kuljit Singh Nagra, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny and Pawan Goel, four newly appointed working presidents of the PPCC, Sidhu took charge of the state unit of the Congress. The new Punjab Congress team shared the stage with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, former state Congress president Sunil Jakhar, Congress general secretary and in-charge of Punjab, Harish Rawat during the installation on the occasion.

Senior Congress leaders including former Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, former PPCC presidents Hanspal Singh, Lal Singh, Preneet Kaur, Partap Singh Bajwa, Manish Tewari and MLAs were also present on the occasion.

The party leaders claimed that the first meeting (after Sidhu was appointed PPCC president) between Sidhu and Capt Amarinder Singh was cordial.

Addressing a gathering of party workers and leaders, Sidhu raised issues like costly electricity and controversial power purchase pacts.

“On August 15, I will set up my office in Congress Bhawan. I want ministers to also come here for three hours. We will implement 18 points of high command,” Sidhu said.

“Positions are not the issue. I have kicked many positions. Today every Congress worker has become the president, no difference between leader and workers,” said Sidhu.

“The real issues are farmers sitting in Delhi, protesting TET qualified teachers, problems of doctors and nurses and to prepare every worker to contribute to the state and party”, he said.

Capt. Amarinder Singh spoke of his family's long association with Sidhu's father. Singh credited him for his foray into politics.

"We will work together for Punjab. Not just Punjab, but India. We (Punjab) share a long border with Pakistan. Now Pakistan, China and Taliban, are going to disturb peace by sitting at the borders of Kashmir and Punjab," said Capt. Amarinder Singh adding that they have to bring people together pointing at Sidhu.

Capt Amarinder Singh had hosted a tea party at Punjab Bhawan for all party leaders, including MLAs, before the installation ceremony of Sidhu as the PPCC Chief.

Amarinder Singh arrived at Punjab Bhawan shortly after Sidhu. Sidhu briefly left from the Bhawan 10 minutes after the arrival of Singh and later rejoined the gathering there on the intervention of Harish Rawat and other senior party leaders.

Earlier, the former PPCC president Sunil Jakhar said, “I am leaving an unfinished agenda for you (Sidhu) to encourage the Congress workers. I am grateful to you - Captain Sahib- your magnanimity has endeared you to the people of Punjab. Sonia Gandhi ji has given a big responsibility to Navjot Singh Sidhu ahead of the assembly elections.”

“Our politically opponent parties and detractors within the Congress had been expecting fireworks today but that didn't happen” said Sunil Jakhar.

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