Wednesday, Aug 10, 2022

Navjot Singh Sidhu Seeks Meeting With Sonia Gandhi, Pitches 'Punjab Model' Ahead Of Polls

In a letter to Gandhi, Congress Punjab President Sidhu said proposed a 13-point agenda as the poll-bound state's last chance at 'redemption' and 'resurrection'.

Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu PTI

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has written to Sonia Gandhi, seeking a meeting with the party chief as the state gears up for elections in Punjab next year. In a letter dated October 15, the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief proposed a "Punjab Model" with a 13-Point Agenda" to be included in the Congress manifesto for the 2022 Assembly Elections.

The letter comes days after Sidhu's resignation and subsequent retention by Congress as the party's Punjab chief.  On October 15, days after resigning from the party, Sidhu announced his concerns have been resolved and the party asserted that he will continue in his post. The resolution came after the cricketer-turned-politician met Rahul Gandhi and raised his concerns.

Addressing the issues he flagged in the letter as matters of utmost importance that the government "must deliver upon", Sidhu insisted that this would be the last chance for the poll-bound state's "redemption" and "resurrection".

The letter to Sonia Gandhi reminded her of the party's 18-point agenda "given to the last chief minister" of Punjab and said that those were "equally relevant today".

Sidhu then said the people of Punjab demand justice for the 2015 police firing at Kotkapura and Behbal Kalan in Faridkot following the desecration of the Guru Granth Sahib during the previous SAD-BJP regime.

On the drugs issue, the Punjab Congress chief said, "The big fish mentioned in the STF report must be immediately arrested and given exemplary punishment."

He also wrote that the state government must reject the "three black farm laws" of the Centre "by announcing that they will not be implemented in Punjab at any cost".

The state government must release a white paper on power purchase agreements and cancellation of "all faulty PPAs as promised by us", Sidhu said in the letter.

"It might be the last damage-control exercise or else, mafia-raj ruling the state patronized by the Badals will take the state to the extent of financial emergency, corruption and agrarian crisis from which there will be no return.

In the letter, Sidhu sought a meeting with Sonia Gandhi to present to her a "Punjab Model with a 13-Point Agenda to be part of the Congress manifesto for the 2022 Assembly Elections".

The Punjab Congress chief described the "13-point agenda" as separate from the manifesto by "means of its long-term vision to be implemented over a longer period, crafted through years of consultations with academics, civil society, party workers and feedback from the people of Punjab".

Sidhu had posted his resignation as state unit chief on Twitter on September 28 following objections to the appointment of the new Punjab Police chief and the advocate general, besides some portfolio allocations to ministers after the new cabinet formation.

During the meeting with Congress senior leaders K C Venugopal and Rawat, the Punjab Congress leader had raised his concerns over the 18-point agenda taken up by the leadership on which actions are pending.

These included action against those involved in the sacrilege issue and the drugs mafia.

(With inputs from PTI)