The ties between Navjot Singh Sidhu and Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh nosedived with Sidhu refusing to attend the Cabinet meeting today. The political war intensified with the open revolt and statements made by Sidhu. The Punjab Chief Minister has been very vocal about Sidhu’s ‘poor performance’. He has time now and time again blamed the cricketer-turned-politician for the Congress’ loss in the Lok Sabha Elections. However, Sidhu said today that it is a team effort and he can’t be ‘singled out’.
Talking about his track record during polls, Sidhu said that “urban seats had a pivotal role in Congress party’s win in Lok Sabha elections in the state. Chief Minister gave me responsibility of two districts in Punjab. We won big in these two districts.” He said that it was wrong to blame him and said that, “it is a collective responsibility. My department has been singled out publicly. One must have the ability to see things in the right perspective. I cannot be taken for granted. I have been a performer throughout. I am answerable to the people of Punjab. “
Earlier, media reports had said that Singh reportedly sent an ultimatum to Congress top brass over Sidhu’s exit from the Congress. An India Today report had said that Singh has clearly stated that, “it’s me or him.” Meanwhile, Sidhu’s wife is defending him and has amped up the attack on Punjab Chief Minister with startling facts.
An HT report said that Navjot Kaur has slammed Punjab Chief Minister for saying that it Sidhu’s statements that cost the party. Talking about poll results in Bathinda, Kaur reportedly said that, “Had Sidhu Sahib not gone there, the Congress would have lost the seat by over one lakh votes. His campaign worked and reduced the margin to around 20,000. Congress high command came to know that party’s position is weak there, so it deputed Sidhu in the constituency.”
On the day of verdict, Singh had said that he would approach the Congress high command over his cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu’s remarks on the sacrilege issue during electioneering. A day before polling, Sidhu had raised questions on the probe into the desecration of religious texts in 2015. Maintaining that Sidhu’s remarks “might have affected the party’s performance in Bathinda, the CM said he would take up the issue with the party high command once things settled after the election results.
The CM also said Sidhu’s performance as a minister needed to be reviewed as he had “not been able to handle his own department”. The Congress in Punjab performed poorly in urban areas and Sidhu was the minister for urban development, the CM said, adding that it was wrong on his part to make the controversial remarks.
The chief minister reiterated that Sidhu’s ‘yari and jhappi’ (friendship and hugs) with the Pakistani army chief would not be tolerated, especially by Army personnel, who were being killed by the ISI-backed terrorists. The chief minister also said the performance of the state ministers would be reviewed in the backdrop of the Lok Sabha results.