Punjab Cong in a muddle: Sidhu quits as chief; Amarinder plots next move?

His decision comes a few days after Captain Amarinder Singh was replaced as the Punjab Chief Minister

Sidhu was appointed as the chief of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee on July 18, after a feud with Captain Singh, which lasted for many months

In a jolt to the Congress, senior leader Navjot Singh Sidhu resigned as the Punjab Congress chief on Tuesday, a few days after Captain Amarinder Singh was replaced as the Punjab Chief Minister. It’s learnt that Sidhu is upset over the way the new Cabinet has been formed. Adding to the drama is former chief minister Amarinder Singh’s visit to New Delhi where if some reports are to be believed, he will meet BJP leaders, including Amit Shah and JP Nadda. However, there has been no confirmation yet.

Sources close to Sidhu say he was unhappy with the induction of some controversial MLAs, particularly Rana Gurjit Singh, as ministers in the new cabinet led by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. Sidhu also opposed the appointment of APS Deol as the state’s new Advocate General, but was overruled by Channi.
Sidhu’s fresh rebellion is expected to put Channi under immense pressure. Malerkotla MLA Razia Sultana, newly inducted minister for Women and Child Development and Social Security in the Punjab govt, resigned in solidarity with Sidhu.
The former cricketer is expected to raise the pitch on corrupt ministers in the new government, claiming that Channi’s council of ministers is no different from that Amarinder Singh.
Though Sidhu said he would continue to serve the party, he is likely to keep the Congress leadership on the edge “over not fulfilling poll promises” and its failure to give a corruption-free government.

“The collapse of a man’s character stems from the compromise corner. I can never compromise on Punjab’s future and the agenda for the welfare of Punjab. Therefore, I hereby resign as the President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. I will continue to serve the Congress,” Navjot Sidhu wrote in his short resignation letter on Twitter, which he addressed to party president Sonia Gandhi.

Sidhu’s decision comes on a day when Captain Singh is visiting New Delhi. There is speculation that he may meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah, but there has been no confirmation. Sidhu was appointed as the chief of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee on July 18, after a feud with Captain Singh, which lasted for many months.

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After resigning as Punjab chief minister, Amarinder Singh had said he felt humiliated. Later he had also called Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra inexperienced.

Amarinder Singh too took to Twitter quickly and shot a sarcastic message: “I told you so…he is not a stable man and not fit for the border state of Punjab.” (sic)

Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party claimed that Sidhu quit from his post as “he could not bear that a Dalit has been made the Chief Minister of the state.”

“This shows that Navjot Singh Sidhu is against Dalits. One poor son was made the chief minister… this, Sidhu could not bear. It is very sad,” AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj told reporters.

The AAP is the main opposition in Punjab.

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