Amarinder Singh To Meet Sonia Gandhi Tomorrow Amid Punjab Congress Infighting

Navjot Sidhu had met with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra last week.

Amarinder Singh To Meet Sonia Gandhi Tomorrow Amid Punjab Congress Infighting

Amarinder Singh had met with a three-member panel appointed by Sonia Gandhi recently. (File)

New Delhi:

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh will meet Congress president Sonia Gandhi tomorrow as the party makes desperate attempts to resolve his feud with Navjot Singh Sidhu and end infighting ahead of polls in the state next year.

Navjot Sidhu had met with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra last week.

Days before that, Amarinder Singh had met with a three-member panel appointed by Sonia Gandhi to recommend a solution to the Punjab feud but had left Delhi without any meeting with the Gandhis.

Tomorrow's meeting could be key; the Congress, say sources, is trying to bring the Chief Minister on board with a formula that would require Mr Sidhu to be accommodated in a top post either in the Punjab Congress or the state government.

Priyanka Gandhi, who held a four-hour meeting with Mr Sidhu and reportedly even convinced her brother Rahul to give him an appointment, is believed to have pitched this plan to leaders involved in the Punjab tangle.

According to sources, Mr Sidhu may share the job of party chief in Punjab with another leader and Amarinder Singh's cabinet may see some changes if the formula gains the acceptance of all concerned.

Rahul Gandhi had initially denied any meeting with the cricketer-turned-politician, which fueled speculation as Mr Sidhu's team had announced his meeting with the Gandhis before he drove to Delhi last week.

Later, the two met for 45 minutes, and it was described as a "meeting of reconciliation".

Amarinder Singh has been facing the anger of a section of his party colleagues in Punjab over a legal setback in a 2015 case involving the desecration of the Sikh religious text Guru Granth Sahib and police firing during protests linked to it. Many in the Punjab Congress accuse the Chief Minister of not fighting strongly enough for an emotive cause that could impact them in the polls.

Mr Sidhu, the Congress's star campaigner in the 2017 Punjab polls, became a minister in the Amarinder Singh government but quit two years later after his ministry was downgraded.

"He was given a lighter ministry because he refused to take important decisions," said sources close to the Chief Minister, denying that he was shafted.

After two years of silence, Mr Sidhu started targeting Amarinder Singh once again this year.

Sources say the Chief Minister has categorically told his Delhi leadership that he is not on board with coddling Mr Sidhu.

For the Congress, it is an increasingly sticky problem with neither faction pulling any punches.

Last week, Mr Sidhu put out a series of tweets targeting the Chief Minister over the Punjab power crisis. Soon after, details emerged of his unpaid electricity bills worth Rs 8 lakh.