The Sidhu-Majithia tiff doesn’t seem ending. After the Akalis asked Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu to explain if alliance nominee Arun Jaitley’s trailing by 32,000 votes on her turf was her mischief or unpopularity, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from Amritsar East replied in the same coin on Tuesday.
She advised “Majhe Da Jarnail” (“Majha’s general”, state revenue minister Birakm Singh Majithia) to “worry about own popularity”, since “it’s only after his campaigning in the Akali wards of Amritsar East that Jaitley lost there so badly there”. “As far as mischief is concerned,” she said, “In the BJP wards, we lost by 10,000 votes, and in the Akali wards of my constituency, by almost double; so who played mischief?”
Majithia, said the legislator, was among the people who had assured Jaitley a huge win. “He must own responsibility now and not pass it on to the BJP or me,” she argued. Replying to a question, she said: “I had stated before the contest that my constituency was divided, since the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) controlled most municipal wards and senior leaders such as Majithia called the shots there. Why should I resign? It is they who lost their wards by a big margin.”
She said it was time for introspection, not blame game. “The Akalis also need to do that. Their performance also is not good,” the legislator added. Majithia, whom Dr Sidhu targets, got Jaitley a lead of more than 20,000 from his assembly segment in the parliamentary election.
Dr Sidhu, also chief parliamentary secretary, had earlier asked Majithia to resign after BJP candidate Jaitley had lost to Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress. “I am here to stay in the party. But if party takes my post (CPS) back because of this defeat, I will opt to move out,” she said.
Reacting to this, Sarchand Singh, media adviser to Majithia, said the CPS should own the responsibility. “There is no point blaming the SAD or Majithia. We won both Majitha and Rajasansi constituencies with a heavy margin,” he said. Already, owing responsibility, BJP leader Anil Joshi has resigned from the Punjab cabinet.
In 2012, when Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu won her assembly seat by just 7,000 votes, it was because a Congress rebel was also contesting and their votes had got divided. It would have been tough for her to win a direct contest; so the big lead to the Congress in Amritsar East is not surprising. In the 2012 municipal elections as well, former parliamentarian Navjot Singh Sidhu, who is husband of Dr Sidhu, and cabinet minister Majithia had a fallout in the open.