New Delhi: In the Punjab Cabinet reshuffle that was skipped by Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday in an apparent snub to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, the minister has been allotted the Power, New and Renewable Energy Sources portfolio. Also Read - Punjab Extends Lockdown-like Restrictions Till May 31; CM Orders Strict Enforcement of COVID Curbs
According to reports, some major changes have been made in the Cabinet, barring four ministers. Punjab minister Navjot Singh has been shifted from Local Government to Power portfolio, read the official statement. Also Read - Congress MP Rajeev Satav Dies of COVID-Related Complications; Tributes Pour in
This change in charge comes in the middle of a conspicuous, wide rift in between Captain Amarinder Singh and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu. Also Read - Congress Decides to Postpone Party President Election Due to Pandemic
A ‘sulking’ Navjot Singh Sidhu skipped two crucial meetings in the week, both pertaining to assessing the Lok Sabha polls performance and reshuffling of Cabinet.
Punjab Chief Minister’s remarks at the recently-held Congress Legislative Party (CLP) meeting over Sidhu’s his ‘inability’ to handle work in the election season, added to the fire.
To this, Sidhu had said, “Urban seats had a pivotal role in Congress party’s win in Lok Sabha elections in the state. Chief Minister gave me the responsibility of two districts in Punjab. We won big in these two districts.”
He further said, “It is a collective responsibility. My department has been singled out publicly. One must have the ability to see things in the right perspective. I cannot be taken for granted. I have been a performer throughout. I am answerable to the people of Punjab. ”
NOT THE FIRST TIME
The strife between the cricketer-turned-politician and the Chief Minister is not new.
On several occasions, Sidhu has said that Congress President Rahul Gandhi was his ‘Captain’, reportedly irking Captain Amarinder Singh, a retired Indian Army officer popularly referred to as ‘Captain’.
The war of words between the Chief Minister and Sidhu intensified when Amarinder Singh blamed Sidhu for the Congress’ poor performance in the state’s urban areas and said his actions during the parliamentary elections had not only harmed him but also Rahul Gandhi.
The cause of the provocation was Sidhu’s controversial remarks on the sacrilege issue. He also blamed the Chief Minister for denial of party ticket to his wife from Chandigarh. Referring to Sidhu’s remarks on the investigation into the sacrilege cases in Bathinda, the seat the Congress lost to Akali Dal’s Harsimrat Kaur Badal by 21,772 votes, the Chief Minister said the Minister evidently did not understand that a Special Investigating Team (SIT) had been set up by the Assembly.
The Chief Minister had also reiterated that Sidhu’s ‘yari and jhappi’ (friendship and hug) with the Pakistani Army Chief would not be tolerated, especially by Indian Army personnel, who were being killed by ISI-backed terrorists.
With IANS inputs