Amarinder Singh reiterated that Sidhu's ‘yari and jhappi’ (friendship and hugs) with the Pakistani army chief would not be tolerated. (File Photo)
While the Modi wave swept most of India, Punjab was the only north Indian state to buck the trend. With impressive 8-seat haul in the Lok Sabha Elections, the rift between Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu is out in open. According to latest media reports, Singh has sent an ultimatum to Congress top brass over Sidhu’s exit from the Congress. An India Today report 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.