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Posted at: May 23, 2019, 12:59 PM; last updated: May 23, 2019, 4:23 PM (IST)

Amarinder fires salvo at Sidhu; says he is unable to run his own department

Amarinder fires salvo at Sidhu; says he is unable to run his own department
Capt Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu. File photo

Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 23

As the Congress leads on eight of the 13 seats in Punjab, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Thursday fired a fresh salvo on cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu, saying the latter was unable to run his own department.

A senior leader said the Chief Minister’s stand clearly showed fresh trouble brewing for Sidhu.

The statement comes two days after senior Congress leader Lal Singh had said that Sidhu would be held responsible in case the party lost out any of the 13 seats.

With the Congress trailing by a huge margin in Bathinda and Gurdaspur, the places visited by Sidhu in the last few days of campaigning, the pro-Amarinder camp is ready to launch a fresh attack on Sidhu.

Not denying the fact that he is an asset as a star campaigner for the party, Punjab Congress Election Management Committee Chairman Lal Singh said Sidhu was not adjusting to the Congress culture and had damaged the party’s prospects in winning all 13 Lok Sabha seats by his untimely utterances against the party interests, which amounted to indiscipline.

“The Congress performance at the national level notwithstanding, the outcome of the Bathinda seat would decide the future course of action by Punjab Congress leaders, who are gunning for Sidhu.

“A victory for Bathinda’s SAD candidate Harsimrat Badal would not only demoralise the top Congress leadership, but would also go against Navjot Singh Sidhu,” said a senior party leader.

However, with Sidhu having aggressively campaigned for the Congress across the country, his image as a star campaigner could work to his advantage even as several of Sidhu’s cabinet colleagues have called for disciplinary action against him for his “friendly match” dig against Amarinder.

This is not the first time Sidhu has had a standoff with the CM. Earlier, Sidhu was cornered by his cabinet colleagues over his “my captain” remark after an unsavoury controversy had erupted in November last year over Pakistan’s invite for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor, which Amarinder had declined.

Sidhu went to Pakistan despite Amarinder asking him to reconsider his decision, and later called Rahul Gandhi his captain at a press conference in Hyderabad.

It had then sent Amarinder loyalists gunning for Sidhu and the party’s central leadership had to step in to end the controversy by asking both sides to refrain from making public statements.

On the high command’s intervention, both leaders had met one-on-one to clear past misgivings. After meeting the CM, Sidhu had said that his statement was blown out of proportion and that the CM was like his father.

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