Punjab CM and Sidhu bury hatchet, reminiscence old times, hint at bigger battles

 

CHANDIGARH, July 23 : Extending support to the protesting farmers who have been staging protests at Delhi borders for over 250 days against the three contentious farm laws enacted by the central government, Punjab Congress President Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday said the real issue was theirs.

In his maiden speech after assuming charge here, Sidhu, who shared the stage with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh after a long break, also extended an olive branch to the protesting doctors, nurses, teachers and bus conductors, who have been on roads for their demands.

“My fights are not the issue, the farmers sitting in Delhi, the protesting TET qualified teachers, the problems of doctors and nurses and bus conductors are the real issues,” Sidhu said.

Reiterating his commitment to provide the electricity to the consumers in the state at the highly subsidized rates, Sidhu, donning his trademark maroon Pathani suit with a scarf, asked his government that why the electricity was being purchased for Rs 12 per unit.

He also talked about costly power purchase pacts signed by the previous SAD-BJP government and still continuing in the Congress government.

“Choran di chori pakdi jaani chahidi ae (the thieves would be put behind the bars),” he said.

For quite some time, Sidhu has been targeting the Amarinder Singh-led government in the state by saying the state must do more for domestic and industrial consumer by giving power at Rs 3-5 per unit instead of surcharge inflated Rs 10-12 per unit, along 24-hour supply with no power cuts and free power up to 300 units to all.

Sidhu said there have been all sorts of speculations about him, but “positions are not the issue”.

“Today every Congress worker has become the president, no difference between leader and workers,” he said.

Remembering his ties with Sidhu’s family, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in his speech said they would work together for the state.

“I was commissioned in the Army, the year Sidhu was born. When my mother asked me to enter politics, his (Sidhu) father helped me. I used to go to his house when he was about six years old,” said Amarinder Singh.

Ending speculations of differences between him and Sidhu, Amarinder Singh said, “We (Sidhu and Amarinder Singh) will work together for Punjab. Not just for Punjab, but for India. We share a long border with Pakistan…Pakistan, China and now with America’s departure, Taliban in Afghanistan, all of them are going to come and sit at Kashmir’s border, Punjab’s border,” the Chief Minister said.

Before Sidhu assumed the charge as the state President at the party office, Sidhu met the Chief Minister at the Punjab Bhawan here for the tea meeting.

The meeting between Sidhu and Singh, who had been at loggerheads, was cordial.

According to a video from the event, Sidhu greeted Amarinder Singh with folded hands and broke the ice by saying: “How are you, sir? Such a pleasure.”

Amarinder Singh had invited all Congress MLAs and MPs for breakfast an hour before the new team to take charge, comprising four working presidents — Kuljit Singh Nagra, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, and Pawan Goel.
IANS

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