Stunning the dynastic party that had to get rid of a popular chief minister because of his tantrums, Navjot Singh Sidhu today resigned as Punjab Congress chief. The cricketer-turned-politician announced his resignation via Twitter. In his letter to INC head Sonia Gandhi, Sidhu said, “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. Will continue to serve the Congress.”
Navjot SIngh Sidhu’s resignation is only the latest update in a series of dramatic developments in Punjab over the last few weeks.
Speculations are rife that Sidhu is going to join the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
In what seemed to be the peak of the infighting between Sidhu and former Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, the high command replaced the latter with Charanjit Singh Channi as chief minister of Punjab on 20 September. Chief Minister Channi’s cabinet was sworn in six days later the day before yesterday. There had been marathon meetings with the party high command preceding the finalisation of the cabinet.
Punjab Chief Minister Channi carried out his first cabinet expansion on 26 September, inducting 15 cabinet ministers which included seven new entrants. The new faces in Channi’s council of ministers are Randeep Singh Nabha, Raj Kumar Verka, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Pargat Singh, Amarinder Singh Raja Warring and Gurkirat Singh Kotli.
Brahm Mohindra, Manpreet Singh Badal, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Aruna Chaudhary, Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria, Razia Sultana, Vijay Inder Singla and Bharat Bhushan Ashu, who were ministers in the previous Amarinder Singh led cabinet, were retained as Cabinet Ministers.
Even after these long meetings, not everyone in the party was happy with the final list of cabinet ministers. Six INC MLAs from Doaba and one former Punjab Congress Committee president demanded that Sidhu remove Rana Gurjeet Singh from the proposed cabinet list due to his involvement in the ‘mining scandal’ and instead ‘include a clean Dalit face in view of upcoming polls.”
However, Rana Gurjeet Singh was sworn in as a minister on 26 September despite these complaints.
Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation comes on the very day that former chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh is to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda, as per sources.