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Opinion

Punjab CM likely to reshuffle cabinet and fill Navjot Sidhu's vacancy, amidst Political turmoil in Punjab

SATINDER BAINS | May 10, 2021 10:25 PM

CHANDIGARH: While a political turmoil is brewing in Punjab over repeated attacks on Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh by former Minister and cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu, Punjab Chief Minister is expected to reshuffle his cabinet and to fill the vacancy in cabinet occurred after resignation by Sidhu.

Punjab Chief Minister was so far keeping all options open for reconciliation and return of Sidhu in his cabinet. Chief Minister had invited Sidhu twice for talks due to intervention by Congress party high command in the matter. Sidhu had resigned from the Capt Amarinder Singh cabinet on June 10, 2019 following change in his portfolio. The vacancy created by resignation of Sidhu was not filled for the last two years.

The ongoing tussle between Sidhu and Capt Amarinder Singh has reached its peak after Navjot Sidhu started public attacks on Capt Amarinder Singh, particularly after Punjab and Haryana High Court had rejected the report of SIT in a case related to police firing at Kotkapura and Behbal kalan on peaceful Sikhs protesting against sacrilege of holy Guru Granth Sahib. Sidhu has publicly alleged it a case of 'incompetency; of home minister (Capt Amarinder Singh. In the past Sidhu had blamed Chief Minister for illegal mining in the state.

It is learnt that Capt Amarinder Singh had agreed to reconcile with Sidhu on the insistence of Harish Rawat AICC general secretary incharge of Punjab affairs and invited Sidhu for a meeting. After outburst by Sidhu, Chief Minister had blasted at Sidhu and in his TV interview announced that Sidhu's demand for post of Deputy Chief Minister or PPCC president cant be accepted. He underlined that many Congress leaders senior to Sidhu are members of his cabinet and PPCC president Sunil Jakhar is doing well.

The confrontation between Sidhu and Captain turned full circle today when three cabinet ministers, including, Brahm Mohindra, Sunder Sham Arora and Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, came out in strong criticism of Sidhu’s actions and open criticism of the Congress Chief Minister while being an elected MLA from the same party. The statement by three ministers came a day after news that two cabinet ministers had met Sidhu secretly to lobby against Chief Minister.

The insiders in Congress party said that nod by party high command to fill the vacancy in cabinet and reshuffle has brought the Sidhu and cabinet ministers face to face on the issue of criticism of Capt Amarinder Sidhu. These ministers are now insisting on expulsion of Sidhu from party. They said that failure to take action against Sidhu now could trigger unrest in the party’s state unit, which would be fatal for the party.

It is believed Congress party may take a final decision on Sidhu in days to come. But in the meantime, the aspirants willing to find a place in cabinet have started camping in Delhi to reach out to party high command. Even PPCC president Sunil Jakhar had made several trips of Delhi to protect his supporters in the cabinet.

 
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