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Punjab Rift Widens as Cong Chief Parades MLAs in Show of Strength in Amritsar

Newly-appointed Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Wednesday marshalled a group of 62 MLAs to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, which is seen as a show of strength amid continuing stance with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh.

They are then expected to visit the Turkiana Mandir and Ram Theerath Stall.

Before taking over as Punjab Congress president, Sidhu had invited 77 Congress legislators to worship at the Golden Temple, but only 62 of them came to the house in Amritsar, his aides said.

Senior Congress leader from Chiracpur, Bernith Kaur believer Deepinder Dhillon also attended Sidhu’s house. Raja Waring, Dr. Rajkumar Verka, Inderbir Polaria, Parinder Dillon, Madan Lal Jalpuri, Harminder Gill, Harjot Kamal, Harminder Jassi, Joginder Pal, Barkat Singh, Kobaya and Sukjinder Randawa.

With the number game running, the opposition BJP seemed to be saving the power struggle within the Congress. “The game has started. Sidhu 62, Captain 15,” BJP national spokesperson RP Singh tweeted.

Although Amarinder has so far been silent on his approach to party MLAs, his media adviser Raveen Thukral reiterated on Tuesday that he would not meet Chief Minister Sidhu until he apologized for the “disgusting” statements made against him in the past. “Sheriantop’s statements seeking time to meet with Cape Amarinder are completely false. No time requested. There is no change in the position … Chief Minister Navjot Singh will not meet Sidhu until he publicly apologizes for the socially defamatory attacks on him personally, ”Tukral tweeted.

Senior Cabinet Minister Pram Mohindra has extended his support to the Chief Minister, saying he will not meet Sidhu until the issues between him and Amarinder are resolved.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Sunday appointed Navjot Singh Sidhu as the new leader of the party’s Punjab faction, despite strong opposition from Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. Gandhi appointed four working leaders to assist Sidhu before the next assembly elections.

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