Chandigarh: AICC general secretary Harish Rawat flew down to meet Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu called on state party chief Sunil Jakhar on Saturday, a morning of hectic activity in the riven-with-internal-strife Punjab Congress.
As speculation mounted over whether Sidhu would be appointed state Congress head despite Amarinder's misgivings, Rawat reached Chandigarh in a chopper around 12 noon and went straight to the chief minister's farm house in Mohali.
The visit is being seen as an effort to placate Amarinder, who wrote a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Friday. He is learnt to have said that giving the post to Sidhu, a Jat Sikh, would upset the party's senior leaders representing the Hindu community and harm the party's prospects in the 2022 assembly elections.
Earlier in the morning, Sidhu met Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Sunil Jakhar. The cricketer-turned-politician left his residence in Patiala and reached Jakhar's residence in Panchkula about 65 km away around 10:45 am, an aide said.
After the meeting, which lasted more than half-an-hour, Sidhu said Jakhar is his elder brother and a guiding force. Jakhar, in turn, described Sidhu as a capable man. Sidhu had met Gandhi at her residence in New Delhi on Friday in an apparent bid to arrive at a truce formula over the state unit revamp.
The flurry of meetings comes in the backdrop of simmering tensions in the Punjab Congress following differences between Amarinder and Sidhu.
Suspense has been building up over the much-awaited announcement from the party high command on the resolution of the festering feud in the Punjab Congress.
In case the party chooses to appoint Sidhu as the PPCC chief, there will be two Jat Sikhs in key posts. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh is also a Jat Sikh.
Jakhar, the present state Congress head, is a Hindu.
There is also talk of appointing two working presidentsa Dalit and a Hindu face to balance the caste equations.
Though there was no official word, Sidhu's supporters were upbeat at reports that he would be given the key post and there were reports that preparations for celebrations were already underway.
Party sources said reports of Sidhu's supporters celebrating in advance have irked Amarinder.
Rawat has maintained that the central leadership is working out a peace formula where both leaders could work together to help the party win the Punjab Assembly polls next year. Both Amarinder and Sidhu have aired their differences in public and made statements against each other. They have held parallel meetings in Chandigarh with their loyalists, sources said.
While the chief minister has met some party MPs, MLAs and ministers, Sidhu is learnt to have met Punjab ministers Sukhjinder Randhawa and Tript Rajinder Bajwa, and some MLAs close to him at Randhawa's residence. Amid reports of Sidhu's elevation, party MP Manish Tewari has batted for a Hindu face for the PCC chief's post while giving details of the composition of the state's population.
"Punjab is both progressive and secular but balancing social interest groups is key. Equality is the foundation of social justice!" he said in the tweet, while giving details of Punjab's demography.
Sikhs, he said, constitute 57.75 per cent of the population, while Hindus and Dalits constitute 38.49 and 31.94 per cent respectively....