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New Innings For Sidhu In Punjab Congress? State unit fears that he could soon walk out of prison, get a key role

Will former Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu get a crucial assignment after leaving Patiala jail? The buzz in congressional circles has come after there was an indication that the former cricketer could be released from prison before his one-year sentence expires.

Sidhu was sentenced to a year in prison in May last year in a hit and run case. Although according to prison rules there are six months left before his sentence is over, he could be out of prison in less than eight months. Sidhu can get 48 days remission instead of working in the prison factory as a convict gets 4 days remission per month.

The prison inspector has the power to remit another 30-day sentence, which is generally given to almost all convicts. The third 60-day remission can come from DG (prisons), which is usually done in exceptional cases and with political consent.

Party circles are abuzz with reports that Sidhu will be given a crucial assignment when he walks out of jail. Congress leaders are also awaiting the fate of the investigation against the former Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) chief after he was disqualified by a disciplinary committee for indulging in alleged anti-party activities.

Sources close to Sidhu said a chorus to bring him back into party affairs was building ahead of his release and in the past six months some congressional leaders have visited Sidhu in jail.

Party leaders are hopeful that Sidhu’s return to Punjab politics could spark interesting political comparisons in the state. ‚ÄúParty leaders are also waiting for his next move when he comes out. It remains to be seen what decision he makes about his political future,” said a congressional leader.

Coinciding with his sentencing in May, the party’s high command had referred the case of his alleged anti-party activities to the disciplinary committee. Although the change of the guard at the highest level would mean a change of members of the disciplinary committee, the case against Sidhu was still pending.

After Amrinder Raja Warring took over as head of the PPCC, the party took a tough stance against indiscipline and has expelled a number of leaders in recent months.

Following the poor performance of the Punjab Congress in this year’s parliamentary elections, Sidhu resigned as the head of the state unit before Harish Chaudhary, the leader of the Punjab, took notice of the new PPCC chief Raja Warring as the supreme command of the party wrote about his lack of discipline and alleged anti-party activities. The state unit has sought action against him, accusing him of putting himself above the party.

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