Vastavam web: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, who has been at loggerheads with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and was stripped off key portfolios in the cabinet reshuffle in June, has resigned from the state cabinet. The 55-year-old Sidhu took to Twitter on Sunday, making public his resignation letter, which was sent just four days after his portfolio was changed.
The resignation letter dated June 10 was addressed to Congress President Rahul Gandhi. “I hereby resign as Minister from the Punjab Cabinet,” Sidhu said in the letter to the Congress chief, which he posted on his Twitter handle on Sunday. The date of his resignation letter was a day after he had met Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi when his portfolio was changed.
Portfolios of several other ministers too had been changed in the reshuffle exercise. In an apparent snub, Sidhu, the Congress MLA from Amritsar East, was also left out of the consultative groups formed by the chief minister on June 8, two days after the cabinet reshuffle, to accelerate implementation of government’s flagship programmes. Over a month after he was stripped of key portfolios, Sidhu had not taken charge of his new assignment, as a stalemate with the chief minister had continued.
Congress veteran Ahmed Patel had been entrusted with the task of resolving issues between Sidhu and Singh. Singh had met Patel during his visit to Delhi last month, but the party reportedly described the meeting as a “courtesy call”. Ever since the portfolio reshuffle exercise, the Punjab minister and his wife Navjot Kaur have been maintaining a distance from the media.
Sidhu had approached Congress president Rahul Gandhi on June 9 and had “apprised him of the situation” besides handing over a letter to him. He had also shared a picture with Rahul Gandhi, party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi and senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel on his Twitter handle and Facebook page on June 10. Since then, he had not shared anything on Twitter and Facebook.
Sidhu, a former BJP leader who had joined the Congress just ahead of the 2017 Punjab assembly polls, has been at loggerheads with Singh for sometime now.
The tension between Singh and his cabinet colleague had come out in the open last month when the CM blamed Sidhu for the “inept handling” of the Local Government Department, claiming that it resulted in “poor performance” of the Congress in urban areas in the Lok Sabha polls.