Punjab: Heels dug in, Amarinder vs Sidhu row may snowball into bigger storm

JALANDHAR: With the hardening of stance by Captain Amarinder Singh’s camp on Tuesday night and Navjot Singh Sidhu, known for not stepping back and his camp refusing to tender any apology and instead asking the CM to do so, the showdown between the chief minister and the Punjab Congress president appears imminent.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the party high command might have wanted peace between the duo but the two can’t work together and both sides are closing their options of rapprochement. If Amarinder’s media adviser made it clear on Tuesday night that he would not meet Sidhu unless he apologised for his tweets attacking the CM and senior minister Brahm Mohindra also thowing his lot behind Capt, MLA Pargat Singh on Wednesday hit back saying Amaridner should instead apologise to the people of the state for not keeping his promises. Pargat spoke out as he and other MLAs accompanied Sidhu to Darbar Sahib Amritsar.
According to well-placed sources in Congress, Amarinder, also a Sidhu, hardening his stand despite several MLAs joining the Sidhu camp reflects that he is ready for the final round of the duel between the two, focussing more on inflicting damage on the latter without caring for his remaining term. “When his image and prestige have already been bruised with Sidhu’s appointment as the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president despite his opposition, his chair can also be in danger with several MLAs rushing to Sidhu to express their support, as was evident on Wednesday. He may have to choose between the two and his hardening stand shows that he may be preparing to not let Sidhu go unscathed. Only a bruised Sidhu and embarrassed party high command in Delhi can help him have some satisfaction of taking the revenge,” said a Congress MLA.
The CM already made the job tough for the party high command as ‘communal and caste balance’ card was played out by his camp and the PCC now also has four working presidents. Sources in the party’s state unit said that Congress MPs joining hands with him and specially his bete noire Partap Singh Bajwa burying the hatchet was also an indication that now more focus was on making Sidhu’s life tough and to make CM’s chair elusive for him.
Meanwhile, some MLAs are trying to sail in two boats and showing up on both sides. A Congress MLA, who is still loyal to Amarinder, revealed that till Tuesday, some of the MLAs who had earlier greeted Sidhu, went back to the CM.
With apology remaining elusive, the next round can be who strikes back first and how.

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