In a clear bid to put the state unit of the party in order, Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa today said he was ready to give up his home minister’s chair to State Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu if that was the ambition of the latter.
Stating that the cricketer-turned-politician had been unhappy ever since Randhawa was made the home minister, the Dera Baba Nanak legislator said he would put the ministry at Sidhu’s feet within a minute if he wants the same.
The deputy chief minister’s comments came amid a growing cold war between Sidhu and the state government led by its own party, with the former often in loggerheads with the latter.
“Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu has been upset with me ever since I became the home minister. If Sidhu wants the home ministry, then I will put it at his feet in a minute,” Randhawa said.
Speaking about Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Bikram Singh Majithia who was booked under the NDPS Act recently, Randhawa said police teams were on the lookout for him. “Since he has no government security, it is wrong to say that police have knowledge about his whereabouts,” he said.
Randhawa said that as per his information, Majithia is not in Punjab. “These videos and photos (showing him at Golden temple) are fake. If he is spotted anywhere in Punjab, he will land in jail within a matter of minutes,” he added.
Two days ago, Randhawa had advised the latter to be the torch-bearer of party discipline. His statement had come in the wake of PCC chief Sidhu and Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi’s support to different candidates at recent public rallies.
“If party presidents remain in discipline, the entire party remains in the discipline. My father served as the Pradesh Congress Committee president twice. The announcement of tickets is always made by the party high command. Any statement or announcement made should appeal to all, not divide,” said Randhawa, adding the voice of the people should be heard, instead of forcing one thought on them.
Food and Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu had echoed Randhawa’s sentiments. He said the PCC president needed to “learn the Congress culture”. “It is collective responsibility (distribution of party ticket) and collective decisions have to be taken. Our party leadership needs to be together,” the minister advised Sidhu.