New Delhi, Something is certainly going on in Congress leader and Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s mind. The popular leader has gone incommunicado day after he was divested of key portfolios in a cabinet rejig. this is giving rise to speculations on whether he will take charge of his new assignment.The cricketer-turned-politician and his wife Navjot Kaur, who was denied ticket from Chandigarh have stayed away from the media on June 7.
Much water has flown down the Thames since then as the two senior Punjab ministers do not see eye to eye with each other. While Navjot is upset with Captain in the ticket issue (his wife was denied the Congress ticket both from Chandigarh and Amritsar) Captain Amarinder feels that Sidhu is growing ambitious and is eying the CM’s chair.
An aide refused to divulge any details about the minister amid speculation over Sidhu’s next move.Amid a tussle with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, Sidhu was stripped of his local government, tourism and cultural affairs portfolios in the Punjab cabinet reshuffle on June 6.
Navjoy Sidhu has now been given the Power and New and Renewable Energy Sources Department. The reshuffle, in which portfolios of most ministers were changed, took place hours after Sidhu skipped a cabinet meeting.
Instead, he chose to address the media at his official residence on June 6. Sidhu had said that his department was “singled out publicly” for the Lok Sabha loss, asserting that he could not be taken for granted as he had been a “performer throughout”.He refuted allegations that the party performed poorly in Punjab’s urban areas, saying of the 69 assembly segments where it won, 34 were urban.
Meanwhile, Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal took potshots at the change of Sidhu’s portfolios.“Interesting. Amarinder removes ‘sherryontop’ (Sidhu) from the local bodies citing his performance as the reason for the Cong defeat in urban areas in the Lok Sabha poll. And now Sidhu has been given ‘Power’ so that Sidhu can ‘perform’ and achieve the same results in rural areas,” Sukhbir Badal said in a tweet.
On the other hand, Aam Aadmi Party MLA Aman Arora congratulated Sidhu for becoming the power minister, urging him to review three power purchase agreements with private thermal power plants signed by the previous SAD-BJP government.Arora claimed that it resulted in a financial burden of Rs2,800 crore per annum on the exchequer.The tension between Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu escalated last month, when the politician was blamed for the “inept handling” of the Local Government Department.