Won’t budge, Navjot Singh Sidhu tells Congress party leaders

3 ministers, 5 legislators camping at PCC president’s Patiala residence

Aman Sood

Tribune News Service

Patiala, September 29

Several Congress leaders and MLAs visited PCC chief Navjot Sidhu’s residence here late Monday evening to “listen to his grievances and know from the horse’s mouth” the reason for his resignation.

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Kulbir Singh Zira and Amrinder Singh Raja Warring at Navjot Singh Sidhu’s residence in Patiala.

Three Cabinet ministers — Razia Sultana, Pargat Singh and Amrinder Singh Raja Warring — and five MLAs — Kuljit Singh Nagra, Inderbir Singh Bolaria, Sukhwinder Singh Danny, Kulbir Singh Zira and Sukhpal Singh Khaira — were at Sidhu’s residence till the filing of the report. A source claimed Sidhu has said he is not willing to rethink “with present political changes in the government” and could not be a mere “puppet in the hands of the party high command”.

“I have promised to the people of Punjab that I will keep their interests above everything else and will not compromise on it,” he is learnt to have told his party leaders at the meeting.

The sources say the MLAs apprised Sidhu that his decision could backfire on those who had sided with him within the Congress. “We have asked him to have a rethink, if not for himself, for the Congress leaders who stood by him,” said an MLA, adding “Sidhu is in no mood for a compromise in his vision of Punjab”.

Party MLA Khaira said they had asked Sidhu, on behalf of the party leadership, to revisit his decision. Even if he was angry at certain decisions, the high command must try to reach out to him, he added.

People’s interests above everything else

I have promised to people that I will keep their interests above everything else and will not compromise on it. Navjot Singh Sidhu to party leaders

Khaira said if he was perturbed over certain appointments, MLAs/ministers concerned should approach him, instead of staying mum. Almost 100 senior party workers visited his residence and submitted their resignation. “We now swim or sink together,” said Mansimrat Singh Riar, joint secretary, Youth Congress.

State Cong treasurer, Gen Secy quit too

Chandigarh/Amritsar: Hours after Navjot Singh Sidhu stepped down as PCC chief, treasurer Gulzar Inder Chahal, and general secretary Yoginder Pal Dhingra also resigned in solidarity. Chahal was handpicked by Sidhu. Dhingra’s resignation came hours after Razia Sultana quit the Channi government in Sidhu’s support. “I have sent my resignation to the AICC chief, but I will continue to serve Congress,” said Dhingra.

High command dials MLAs

Hours after Sidhu resigned, senior party leaders in the AICC called up MLAs to ascertain their point of view. Four ministers who failed to attend the emergency Cabinet meeting convened by CM Channi were also contacted by leaders. Sources said the party wanted to know the support Sidhu had within the party.

Lobbying begins for Sultana’s slot

Even as Razia Sultana’s resignation as minister is yet to be accepted by the CM, MLAs have started lobbying for the slot


Brahm Mohindra

Local Government, Parliamentary Affairs, Elections and Removal of Grievances

Manpreet Singh Badal

Finance, Taxation, Governance Reforms, Planning and Programme Implementation

Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa

Rural Development & Panchayats, Animal Husbandry, Fisheries and Dairy Development

Aruna Chaudhary

Revenue, Rehabilitation and Disaster Management

Sukhbinder Singh Sarkaria

Water Resources and Housing & Urban Development

Rana Gurjeet Singh

Technical Education & Industrial Training, Employment Generation & Training, Horticulture and Soil & Water Conservation

Razia Sultana (resigned)

Water Supply & Sanitation, Social Security, Women & Child Development and Printing & Stationery

Vijay Inder Singla

Public Works and Administrative Reforms

Bharat Bhushan Ashu

Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs

Randeep Singh Nabha

Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and Food Processing

Raj Kumar Verka

Social Justice, Empowerment and Minorities, New and Renewable Energy Sources and Medical Education & Research

Sangat Singh Gilzian

Forests, Wild Life and Labour

Pargat Singh

School Education, Higher Education, Sports & Youth Services and NRI Affairs

Amrinder Singh Raja Warring

Transport

Gurkirat Singh Kotli

Industries and Commerce, Information Technology and Science & Technology


72-day innings

July 18: Navjot Sidhu named PCC president, replaces Sunil Jakhar

Aug 11: Appoints Mohd Mustafa, Malwinder Mali, Dr Payare Lal Garg as advisers

Aug 19: Mustafa quits only to be later appointed chief strategic adviser

Aug 20: Capt forms panel to coordinate with Sidhu; meeting never happens

Aug 23: Sidhu takes over as Pradesh Congress chief

Aug 28: Sidhu’s adviser Malwinder Mali quits over K-remark controversy

Sept 18: CLP meet called to replace Capt; he quits

Sept 20: Channi takes over as CM, Randhawa, Soni are deputies

Sept 25: Sidhu’s another adviser Dr Garg quits

Sept 26: 15 ministers in Channi Cabinet take oath

Sept 28: Sidhu resigns as PCC president

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