Published On: Sun, Jul 14th, 2019

Sidhu quitting Punjab cabinet a drama: Ministers

Chandigarh: Taking a dig at Navjot Singh Sidhu over he quitting the Punjab Cabinet, some of his ministerial colleagues said it’s a “drama” by the “king of theatrics” and urged him to show more dignity in his actions. Opposition Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) too termed the resignation by Sidhu a “drama”, while its ally BJP asked Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to dismiss him immediately.

Former Punjab Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu


Sidhu on Sunday posted his resignation letter on Twitter and tagged senior Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi who has quit as the party’s president. The letter dated June 10 was sent to Gandhi four days after Sidhu’s portfolios — local government and cultural affairs — were changed by the chief minister.

In a joint statement issued here, Punjab ministers Brahm Mohindra and Charanjit Singh Channi quipped whether Sidhu “was so dumb he didn’t know that the cabinet minister post was not a party post, and his resignation could not be accepted by the Congress president.” Though Gandhi has resigned, Congress still considers him to be its chief. The party is yet to name his replacement.

The cricketer-turned-politician, however, in another tweet said,”Will be sending my resignation to the Chief Minister, Punjab.” “This is nothing but drama from the ‘king of theatrics’. If he had to resign he should have followed protocol and sent it directly to the chief minister,” the ministers said.

Sidhu, who has been at loggerheads with Amarinder Singh since the portfolio reshuffle, was also urged by the ministers to show more dignity and decorum in his actions. “In any case, since when had Twitter become the platform for appointments/resignations” and why did it take Sidhu 34 days to announce his resignation, Mohindra and Channi asked in their letter.

Sidhu tweeted, “My letter to the Congress President Shri. Rahul Gandhi Ji, submitted on 10 June 2019.” He also posted a picture of the resignation letter and tagged Amarinder Singh, Rahul Gandhi and Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Ahmed Patel.

On June 6, the chief minister had divested Sidhu of the local government, and tourism and cultural affairs departments, and allocated him the power and new and renewable energy portfolio. Over a month after he was stripped of the key portfolios, Sidhu had not taken charge of his new assignment, as a stalemate with Amarinder Singh had continued.

“He did not even take cognizance of the fact that it was such a crucial time for the power sector, with power being vital for paddy sowing. Clearly, Navjot Sidhu didn’t care about the detrimental effect of his actions,” Mohindra and Channi said. They claimed that Sidhu had kept the working of the power department in limbo for almost 40 days by not taking over the portfolio.

However, another Punjab Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said he would advise Sidhu to change his mind and join the cabinet. But, if he is firm on his decision, he should directly submit his resignation to the chief minister, he said.

On Sidhu addressing his letter to Rahul Gandhi, SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal said he failed to understand the logic behind Sidhu submitting his resignation letter to Gandhi and termed the entire episode a “drama”. “It is just a formality, he (Sidhu) knows that it (the letter) will lie there (with Gandhi) and he will continue to enjoy ministerial perks,” he said.

Senior SAD leader Prem Singh Chandumajra said Sidhu should have directly submitted his resignation to the chief minister. BJP leader Tarun Chugh said Sidhu submitted his resignation to Rahul Gandhi, who has already stepped down.

“If he had to resign, he could have given his resignation to the Punjab Governor or the chief minister,” he said. Chugh said Sidhu, who was allocated the power department, “was nowhere to be seen for the last 40 days when the people of Punjab were reeling under power cuts”.

The BJP national secretary said instead of waiting for Sidhu’s resignation the chief minister should dismiss him as he has made his intention clear not to continue as a minister. However, there were some opposition leaders like Harpal Cheema, Simarjit Singh Bains and Sukhpal Singh Khaira who came out in Sidhu’s support.

“Sidhu enjoyed a clean reputation and as Sidhu was gradually emerging as a tall leader, many in his own party could not digest this and hatched a conspiracy forcing him to take the step,” Aam Aadmi Party leader Harpal Cheema said. Bains of the Lok Insaaf Party said Sidhu was not given a free hand because he could not tolerate any wrongdoing.

He advised him to quit the Congress and not just the cabinet. Bholath MLA and president of the Punjab Ekta Party Sukhpal Khaira said Sidhu was “targeted and singled out because of his upright nature and calling spade a spade”.

PTI

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