Navjot Singh Sidhu Like "Rafale" In Congress, Says Harish Rawat

Congress leader Harish Rawat said at the national level too, Navjot Singh Sidhu is a very useful person.

Navjot Singh Sidhu Like 'Rafale' In Congress, Says Harish Rawat

Harish Rawat says Congress will find a role for Navjot Singh Sidhu at appropriate time. (File)

Chandigarh:

Congress general secretary Harish Rawat on Thursday indicated a "role" for Navjot Singh Sidhu in Punjab where polls are due in a little over a year and called the leader, who has been staying away from party activities after resigning as cabinet minister last year, as Congress' Rafale.

Mr Rawat, who is the party's in-charge of Punjab affairs, said the Congress MLA's worst critic cannot deny his usefulness while indicating that there were no differences between the cricketer-turned-politician and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.

Mr Sidhu on October 4 took part in a "tractor rally" against the Centre's farm laws in Moga in the presence of party leader Rahul Gandhi, Amarinder Singh and other leaders after Mr Rawat met him at his residence in Amritsar.

Mr Sidhu had been at loggerheads with Amarinder Singh and resigned as cabinet minister soon after he was stripped off key portfolios in the cabinet reshuffle in June last year.

This week, he attended the state assembly session after a long gap and drew praise from party leaders including Amarinder Singh and Harish Rawat for his speech when the Congress government had moved a resolution and brought bills against the Centre's new farm laws.

Punjab Assembly during its special session had on Tuesday passed four bills and adopted a resolution to counter the farm laws. "At the national level too, he is a very useful person. I had recently said he is like a Rafale in our armoury," Mr Rawat said comparing Mr Sidhu to the French multirole fighter aircraft.

"In the state too, he has his usefulness and even his worst critic cannot deny that. In politics, it happens that many people sometimes do not like you, but because of your usefulness they have to accept that fact, this is politics. So, between all this, we will find a role for him and at an appropriate time," Mr Rawat, the former chief minister of Uttarakhand, said.

On Tuesday, Mr Rawat participated in Mr Sidhu's birthday celebrations and also brought a cake for him. "I would like to bless Sidhu for the way he spoke in the Vidhan Sabha and appreciated Capt Amarinder Singh," he said.

Mr Rawat also praised the chief minister saying, "He invited Sidhu to speak after him (on resolution/farm bills), this shows he kept his confidence in him."

"I have seen Captain Amarinder's work culture. Recently on farmers' issue, I saw how he got everyone involved... I have also learnt some new things from him," he said.

On a question related to Amarinder Singh's bete noire and senior leaders -- Pratap Singh Bajwa and Shamsher Singh Dullo -- Mr Rawat said, "They are pillars of our party. Nothing can be created by demolishing the pillars."

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Commenting on the amendment bills of the state to counter Centre's farm laws, Mr Rawat said, "We have clearly indicated our intention to private buyers that they cannot purchase below the MSP (minimum support price). We have strengthened that shield".

Attacking the Centre over the laws, he said, "Farmers'' apprehensions about MSP, mandi system and procurement system are not unfounded, that is why they want Centre''s guarantee on MSP."

"We feel the fight is not only for MSP but saving the country's federal structure. In one stroke, they (Centre) snatched state's right to impose tax. Then they made laws on agriculture, which is a state subject. Slowly, they are encroaching on the rights of the states," he added.

Mr Rawat also attacked Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, saying, "He should not make statements to criticise what Punjab has done to counter Centre's farm laws. Rather, he should get his own bills to show where he stands on the issue of farm laws".

He said Punjab Congress' organisational structure, which was dissolved earlier this year, will be finalised over the next fortnight or so.

"I have already visited Amritsar, Jalandhar, Sangrur, Patiala and Derabassi and will be touring two-three districts more to take feedback," he said, adding the revamped structure will have his stamp of approval.

Meanwhile, hitting out at the BJP-led government in Uttarakhand, he alleged that it has failed on all fronts.

"BJP has failed in providing a sensitive government. There is no development and unemployment has risen. This government has failed on all fronts," Harish Rawat said, adding that people from the hill state are missing the good governance of the previous Congress regime.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)