Seeking to sink differences, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has invited bete-noire Navjot Singh Sidhu for talks on Wednesday.
Sidhu, who quit the BJP to join the Congress ahead of the Punjab assembly elections in 2017, has had a testy relationship with Amarinder, mostly on account of the cricketer-turned-politician’s political ambitions and an independent streak which has led to friction.
“Punjab CM Amarinder Singh has invited Navjot Singh Sidhu for lunch tomorrow (November 25). He & Sidhu are expected to discuss state & national politics over the luncheon meeting,” Raveen Thukral, media advisor to the Punjab Chief Minister said on Twitter.
The rift between the two leaders grew after the Congress’ lower than expected performance in the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab, with Amarinder blaming Sidhu for the loss of Congress candidates in Bhatinda and Gurdaspur to Harsimrat Kaur of Akali Dal and Sunny Deol of the BJP respectively.
Amarinder had also disapproved of Sidhu's visit to Pakistan to take part in the inauguration of Prime Minister Imran Khan and the much-talked-about hug with Pakistan Army Chief Qamar Bajwa.
Efforts to sink differences with Sidhu began after former Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat was made AICC General Secretary in-charge of Punjab.
Rawat had ensured Sidhu’s presence at the tractor rally led by Rahul Gandhi organised by the Congress in October to oppose farm sector reforms.
However, even in Rahul’s presence, Sidhu had targeted the Amarinder government, asking it to ensure that farmers get minimum support price for their produce if the Centre failed to do so.