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August 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.          August 2019 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:June' 2019


Sidhu in a dilemma

K S Chawla

Chief Minister of Punjab Capt Amarinder Singh is yet to take a decision on the resignation of Navjot Singh Sidhu from the state cabinet The mystery of resignation of Navjot Singh Sidhu remains unresolved as the Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has not accepted the resignation so far. Navjot Singh Sidhu who was holding the portfolio of Local Bodies and the Cultural Affairs in the Punjab cabinet was divested of his portfolio following the reshuffle of the portfolios by the Chief Minister after the Lok Sabha poll result on May 23.
The Chief Minister allotted him the portfolio of power and renewable energy. Sidhu did not take charge of power and renewable energy portfolio.. and took it as affront. Sidhu, who has been having close proximity with the Gandhis, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, met Rahul Gandhi on June 10 in Delhi and submitted his resignation to him as a protest against the change in his portfolio. He also posted a picture on the twitter with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi of his meeting.

Rahul Gandhi The feud between the Chief Minister and Sidhu started just three days before the Lok Sabha polling. Campaigning at Bathinda, Sidhu alleged that a ‘friendly match’ is being played between the Chief Minister and Badals. The Chief Minister felt annoyed and made a statement that the Congress had lost many seats in Punjab due to the poor performance of the local bodies department in the urban areas.
Sidhu, however, did not admit this fact and presented his performance chart at a press conference.
Sidhu did not join his power department. Rather he went to Vaishno Devi for meditation and remained incommunicado. The Chief Minister has the prerogative of changing the portfolio of any minister and he refused to bother about the Sidhu’s doings.

Sidhu also did not participate in the cabinet meeting after the polls. As a matter of fact, the tussle between Amarinder Singh and Sidhu started when he declared that his ‘Captain was Rahul Gandhi’. Following this the relationship between the two remained uncomfortable.

Sidhu’s position became weak as after the Lok Sabha verdict, when Congress was decimated. Rahul Gandhi resigned from the presidentship of the All India Congress Committee and did not withdraw his resignation despite Congress Working Committee rejecting the same. As a result of this, Sidhu’s position became weak politically and the real ‘Captain is now Amarinder Singh’ and not Rahul Gandhi.

Ahmed Patel Sidhu met Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi in Delhi and presented them his chart of performance of his local bodies department. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra asked Ahmed Patel, the general secretary of the AICC, to intervene and arrange a meeting between Sidhu and Amarinder Singh.
The Chief Minister went to Delhi on the invitation of Patel, but he did not budge from his stand of changing the portfolios of ministers. It was on July 14 when Sidhu announced on his twitter that he had submitted his resignation to Rahul Gandhi on June 10 during his meeting with him. He also sent a copy of resignation to the Chief Minister in Chandigarh.

The Chief Minister had been away to Delhi to meet the Prime Minister and other Central ministers.

The Chief Minister told media persons in Delhi that he would take action after reaching Chandigarh and reading the contents of the letter. It was expected that on Wednesday (July 16) that the Chief Minister would reach Chandigarh and would take action on the letter. But sofar, the matter has remained unresolved.

Meanwhile the Chief Minister took a meeting of the Punjab State Power Corporation and reviewed the power supply position in the State because paddy transplantation had started and he could not wait and leave the power department un-attended. Amarinder had asked the power corporation to check the theft of power and also taken action against those who are having unauthorized load of power. With heavy rains, the power supply position has become easy in the state.

Navjot Sidhu has been feeling uneasy in the cabinet, because he was hoping that he would be made Deputy Chief Minister which did not happen. Similarly, he had the grudge that his wife was not given the ticket for the Lok Sabha election from Chandigarh. Sidhu failed to get any support from the Gandhis as well at the time of allotment tickets for the Lok Sabha poll. T he Congress won eight seats in Punjab which strengthened the position of Chief Minister as in other states, the party had done miserably.

Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Simmarjit Singh Bains During the tussle with the Chief Minister, Sidhu has been left alone and not a single minister, nor any MLA, has come to his support. Only opposition leaders like Sukhpal Singh Khaira and Simmarjit Singh Bains have urged him to resign from the Congress and join the splinter groups of opposition in Punjab. The only course left for him is to have reconciliation with the Chief Minister and remain in the Congress.