Chandigarh: Controversy is not new to Navjot Singh Sidhu. He has once again earned the wrath of chief minister Amarinder Singh and his cabinet colleagues. Mr Sidhu who has the backing of the Congress high command has in the past rubbed Mr Singh the wrong way more than once.
Navjot Singh Sidhu who was Congress party’s star campaigner did not campaign in Punjab. When he came for campaigning for Congress in Bhatinda on the last day, he started a controversy by his “friendly-match” jibe at Amarinder Singh, alluding to an alleged “secret political deal” with the Badal family of the rival Shiromani Akali Dal. Mr Sidhu had publicly taken a swipe at Mr Singh for not acting against the Badals on the 2015 sacrilege and firing incidents during the Akali-BJP rule. Before that, his wife Navjot Kaur had accused the Captain of denying her a Lok Sabha ticket.
The utterance did not go well with the state Congress unit. The first to attack Mr Sidhu was Amarinder Singh who accused him of “eyeing the chief minister’s chair”. The next day, three ministers, Brahm Mohindra, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and Sadhu Singh Dharamsot demanded Mr Sidhu’s resignation from the cabinet and asked the high command to take disciplinary action against him.
The chorus for the resignation of Punjab local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu got louder as four more of his cabinet colleagues demanded that he quit the ministry if he doubted chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s leadership, signalling a full-blown slugfest in the state Congress ahead of the Lok Sabha election results.
Leading a well-synchronised attack on Tuesday were senior ministers Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Bharat Bhushan Ashu, Shyam Sundar Arora and Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi. “If Sidhu doubts the integrity of Captain Amarinder and has no faith in his leadership, he should quit,” said Mr Bajwa, adding, “if he (Sidhu) is morally so strong, why is he sticking to his chair and working with a person he can’t trust?”
Calling the cricketer-turned-politician a “parachute leader” — an allusion to his previous innings with the BJP — Mr Bajwa said that Mr Sidhu has no experience of organisation building and is thus “repeatedly committing such mistakes that are hampering party prospects”.