Navjot Sidhu appointed Punjab Congresss President
New Delhi, July 18, 2021
Congress President Sonia Gandhi today appointed cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu as the new President of the party's Punjab unit.
Sidhu, 57, who served as the Minister of Local Government, Tourism and Cultural Affairs in the Amarinder Singh government in Punjab from March 2017 to July 2019, has been in the news for the past many months for speaking out against the Chief Minister and seeking a more high-profile role for himself in the party, ahead of next year's assembly elections.
His appointment as Punjab Congress President came even as there was opposition to such a move by the Amarinder Singh camp.
Along with Sidhu, Gandhi also appointed four Working Presidents of the Punjab Pradesh Congress President: Sangat Singh Gilzian, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Pawan Goel and Kuljit Singh Nagra.
"The party appreciates the contributions of outgoing PCC President Sunil Jakhar," a press release from the All India Congress Committee (AICC) said.
Nagra is being relieved from his present responsibility as AICC in-charge of Sikkim, Nagaland and Tripura, the release added.
As reports appeared suggesting that Sidhu was going to appointed as the Punjab Congress chief, Amarinder Singh had written a letter to Gandhi, expressing his reservations about the move. But the party's Punjab in-charge Harish Rawat flew to Chandigarh to talk to him.
Later, Amarinder Singh reiterated that any decision of the party chief would be acceptable but said he had raised certain issues which Rawat said he would take up with her.
Sidhu was elected twice to the Lok Sabha from Amritsar in Punjab as a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2004 and 2009. He was denied a ticket by the party in 2014 but later got a seat in the Rajya Sabha in April 2016.
However, he resigned within three months and joined the Congress in January 2017. He was elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly that year. He quit Amarinder Singh's Cabinet in July 2019.