Amarinder confident Sidhu will rejoin his Cabinet

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Chandigarh, Mar 18 (PTI) 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.

Singh's statement came a day after the two Congress leaders met at the chief minister's farmhouse near here, where they had discussed Sidhu's possible reinduction into the state Cabinet.

'Everyone wants Navjot to be part of our team,' Singh told a press conference here Thursday, replying to a question on the meeting.

Amarinder was addressing a press conference to mark the completion of four years of his government.

The 40-minute meeting between them came amid speculations over Sidhu's reinduction in 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,' Singh said.

Asked if Sidhu wanted to be the deputy chief minister or the Punjab Congress chief, 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.' Singh also said that he knew Sidhu since he was two.

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 Sidhu again. There has also been talk of appointing him the state Congress president.

The tension between Amarinder Singh and Sidhu had come out in the open in May 2019 when the CM 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.

Sidhu was later stripped of this portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle, following which he had resigned. PTI CHS VSD TIR TIR