Adding to the discomfiture of the Punjab government in general and the Badals in particular, chief parliamentary secretary (CPS) Dr Navjot Kaur Sidhu rubbed shoulders with some local Congress leaders and sat with them on a dharna by property dealers to protest against the failure of the government to issue 'no objection certificates' (NoCs) to plot and property holders in the colonies which have not been regularised.
Dr Sidhu, member of legislative assembly (MLA) from Amritsar East, sat with on the dharna along with the Congress leaders for about 30 minutes and even aired her views on the NoC issue. The dharna, which had commenced on Sunday at one corner of the Bhandari bridge, has been organised by the Majha Zone Property Dealers' Association and is being supported by the Congress.
The Congress leaders at the dharna included Amritsar (rural) District Congress Committee (DCC) chief Gurjit Singh Aujla; Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee (PPCC) member Dinesh Bassi; former mayor Sunil Datti, former MLA Jugal Kishore Sharma; youth leaders Vikas Soni and Ashwani Pappu. Surprised at seeing the BJP MLA walk up to them, the Congress leaders immediately made space for her to sit in the front row.
Dr Sidhu, wife of former Amritsar MP Navjot Singh Sidhu, did exchange a few words with some of the Congress leaders, but made it clear that she had come to support the cause of the property dealers association only.
"This is not politics and neither is there any political angle to my presence here. I am here as this is a social issue that concerns lakhs of families," she said, explaining her presence there to the media.
Questioning the government's claims of providing good governance and good administration, she pointed out that the failure of the government in not issuing the notification for the sale-purchase of properties, was resulting in losses of several crores of rupees each day. She wondered what was causing the delay in issuing the necessary notification.
'JOSHI NOT AT FAULT'
Asked whether local bodies minister Anil Joshi was to be blamed for the delay in the notification, Dr Sidhu immediately shot back, "No, he has raised the issue several times in the recent past. I basically feel that there is some sort of ego clash between Joshi and deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and the general public is at the receiving end."
Her reply did surprise a few Congress leaders as the Sidhus have not been on good terms with Joshi. She, however, did not elaborate on the 'ego' issue between the two leaders.
Pointing out that real estate was a major business in Punjab with several homes depending on it, she said that people come to her each day with this NoC problem. Property transactions have come to a halt and, as a result, many families have lost their only source of income to run the household, she added.
Unlike her husband who, of late, has not missed any opportunity to target chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, Dr Sidhu avoided to utter a single word against the chief minister. She just appealed to him to resolve the issue for the sake of the people of the state.