In another snub to Navjot Singh Sidhu by Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the minister has been left out of eight consultative groups formed by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to expedite implementation of the state government’s schemes. Navjot Sidhu had the Local Government portfolio in the state Cabinet. After his recent outbursts against the chief minister, he was handed the power and energy sources portfolio, a comparatively lighter ministry. The leader is yet to assume his new post. The portfolio rejig took place hours after the first state Cabinet meeting following the Lok Sabha elections.
Singh on Thursday evening rejigged the portfolios of most of his ministers. Sidhu’s tourism and cultural affairs portfolio was also taken away, as per an official statement. Barring four ministers, there are some changes in the portfolios of all the others as a result of the reallocation. The chief minister said this will help further streamline the government and bring more transparency and efficiency.
The relation between Sidhu and the chief minister soured Sidhu had targeted the latter, questioning why no criminal case was registered against former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and his son Sukhbir Singh Badal over the sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib and the police-firing incidents of 2015.
“If he was a real Congressman, he should have chosen a better time to air his grievances instead of just ahead of voting in Punjab,” the Chief Minister had said during an informal interaction with reporters.
There was a fresh round of fight after Navjot Kaur Sidhu, Sidhu’s wife, was denied a Lok Sabha ticket from Chandigarh in the recently concluded general elections.
Amarinder had recently said he intended to change the cricketer-turned-politician’s portfolio of local government department over the party’s performance in the Lok Sabha polls. “I cannot be taken for granted. I have been a performer throughout in 40 years of my life be it international cricket, or world class commentary with Geoffrey Boycott, TV shows or motivational talks,” Sidhu told reporters.
He said the urban areas played pivotal role in the party’s victory in Punjab and his department is being singled out. “My department is being singled out publicly. I always regard him as my elder I always listen to him. But it hurts and now where is the collective responsibility? He (Amarinder) could have called me and said anything he wanted to say,” Sidhu said here.
In the recently held general election, Congress won eight out of the 13 seats. The SAD-BJP combine won four while the AAP managed to win only one seat.