Chandigarh: Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh has hit back at Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh for “singling him out” for the party’s poor performance.

Speaking to media on Thursday, Sidhu said, “Instead of collective responsibility, out of 50 departments, only mine has been commented upon. Why? I can’t answer. But it doesn’t mean I’ll do the same. I didn’t say anything before, I won’t say anything now. He (Punjab CM) can take any decision, I’ll follow that.”

Defending the working of his local government department, Sidhu claimed that no other minister in the state government had worked “so transparently.” His reaction came after the Chief Minister reportedly said that Sidhu’s performance needed to be reviewed as he had “not been able to handle his own department”.

Maintaining that Sidhu’s remarks on sacrilege issue “might have affected the party’s performance in Bathinda”, the CM had said that he would take up the issue with the party high
command once things settled after the election results. Responding, Sidhu said his department was a “rudderless ship” when he had joined it.

He claimed that in the past two years, the department had managed to generate Rs 6,000 crore and all its projects were being completed on a war-footing. “There are the same eight or nine people who in the past also wanted me to be thrown out of the party, but I have never spoken a word against them,” Sidhu said.

The CM had also not taken kindly to Sidhu’s stance vis-a-vis Pakistan. He had said that Sidhu’s yari and jhappi (friendship and hugs) with the Pakistani army chief would not be tolerated, especially by Army personnel who were being killed by the ISI-backed terrorists.

“I am giving the reply about the working of my department as I have been singled out. Mayors in my department were appointed by the CM and I can’t question them,” Sidhu alleged. “Does anyone else (in Amarinder Cabinet) have such a vision and so much transparency in his working?” he said.

As far as the Bathinda loss was concerned, Sidhu said the Congress had not won the seat in the last 40 years. “Even Amarinder and his son Raninder Singh too have lost polls from Bathinda,” he said.

This time, Congress’ Raja Warring Amrinder Singh lost to Union minister Harsimrat Kaur from the Bathinda seat.