Although uncertainty prevailed over the premature release of Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu from the Patiala jail, where he is serving a one-year sentence for road rage, supporters today put up posters and banners to welcome the former Chairman of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC).
On the posters, Sidhu’s supporters refer to him as the “protector of Punjab.”
In an apparent attempt to welcome former cricketer-turned-politician Rajinder Singh, son of senior Congress leader Lal Singh, people have been urged to gather on January 26 outside the Patiala jail.
It is expected that on January 26 the air will be cleared over speculations about Sidhu’s release.
Navjot Singh Sidhu, former PCC chief’s media adviser, posted a picture on Twitter of Sidhu’s poster, saying, “The guard of Punjab, Punjabi and Punjabiyat, Navjot Singh Sidhu, is coming soon.”
Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, who is also in charge of Jails, has not officially announced Sidhu’s release.
The “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” may grant special remission to 50 prisoners, including Sidhu. Three phases of release were planned – August 15, 2022, January 26, 2023, and August 15, 2023. About 68 percent of Sidhu’s one-year sentence has been served in jail without parole or furlough.
Leaders of the party are, however, keeping their fingers crossed and refraining from making a public statement regarding Sidhu’s release.
Partap Singh Bajwa, Leader of the Opposition in the Vidhan Sabha, sought clarification from Chief Minister Mann yesterday on whether the Cabinet had approved the remission and forwarded the list of Punjab prisoners.