Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Thursday expressed confidence that Navjot Singh Sidhu will be back in his Cabinet, nearly two years after the cricketer-turned-politician quit the government after being divested of a key portfolio.
Mr Singh’s statement came a day after the two Congress leaders met at the chief minister’s farmhouse, where they had discussed Mr Sidhu’s possible reinduction into the state Cabinet.
“Everyone wants Navjot to be part of our team,” Mr Singh told a press conference on Thursday, replying to a question on the meeting.
He was addressing a press conference to mark the completion of four years of his government.
Their 40-minute meeting between them came amid speculations over Mr Sidhu’s return to the government.
“We had a very cordial meeting. He had tea with me,” the chief minister said, adding the meeting could not take place over lunch because of his other engagements.
“He has sought some time. Let him have his time. And then he will come back to us. I am sure he will be part of our team,” Captain Singh said of Mr Sidhu.
Asked if Mr Sidhu wanted to be the deputy chief minister or the Punjab Congress chief, Captain Singh said it was up to the Congress president to decide these matters.
“Not my decision nor Sunil ji’s (PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar) decision. It is for CP (Congress president) to decide whatever they wish to,” he said, adding in a lighter vein, “If he wants my job he can have it.”
Captain Singh also said that he knew Mr Sidhu since he was just two-years-old.
The chief minister’s media advisor had also shared on Twitter photographs of the two leaders together, indicating a thaw in their strained relations.
For the past several weeks, the Congress circles have been abuzz with speculation over a key cabinet berth for Mr Sidhu again. There has also been talk of appointing him the state Congress president.
The rift between Captain Singh and Mr Sidhu had come out in the open in May 2019 when the Chief Minister blamed him for the “inept handling” of the Local Government Department, claiming it had resulted in the “poor performance” of the Congress in urban areas in the Lok Sabha polls.
Mr Sidhu was later stripped of this portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle, following which he had resigned.