Capt dares Sidhu to contest from Patiala, Cong MLA hits back
Punjab chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Tuesday dared Congress MLA and former minister Navjot Singh Sidhu to fight an election against him from Patiala, saying that he (Sidhu) would lose his security deposit.
Amarinder said that Sidhu cannot take him on from Patiala as long as he is in the Congress, but is trying to jump ships. “He can fight against me but he will lose his deposit like General JJ Singh (retd) did,” the chief minister said in an interview to a TV channel when asked about the increased political activities of Sidhu and his wife, Navjot Kaur Sidhu, in Patiala.
Former army chief was the SAD candidate against Amarinder in the 2017 assembly polls and had lost his security deposit. Both Amarinder and Sidhu belong to Patiala.
Amarinder’s broadside against Sidhu, on a day he held meetings with party legislators, signals the start of a full-on war between the two. Sidhu, who had resigned from the state cabinet two years ago, has been taking swipes at chief minister ever since the Punjab and Haryana high court on April 9 quashed the chargesheets filed by the Punjab Police SIT in the 2015 Kotkapura firing case.
Sidhu promptly took the social media to hit back at Amarinder, and said his fight is for justice and punishing the guilty, and an assembly seat is not even worth discussion in the same breath. “Efforts to derail Punjab’s conscience will fail,” he tweeted, asking the CM not to beat around the bush and explain why there has been no justice in sacrilege cases. “Netritva par sawal hai? Mansha par bawal hai (Leadership is under question and there is uproar on intent),” he added.
Terming Sidhu’s attacks as “indiscipline”, Amarinder said he was probably trying to go to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) or some other party and only he can tell which one.
“The BJP will not take him as he left the party after abusing everyone. The SAD is also not a choice. He is attacking the chief minister which clearly means he is preparing to go…the sooner he wants to go he can go,” the chief minister said in his first response to the former minister’s frequent digs.
On the efforts to make Sidhu the state unit chief or deputy chief minister in the state cabinet, Amarinder questioned these demands. “Why should he be made the party president? What is lacking in (present state unit chief) Sunil Jakhar who is doing a very good job,” he asked. The chief minister said that Sidhu joined the party just four years ago and all the cabinet ministers are senior to him. “Several of them started in Youth Congress. Are they senior or someone who has joined recently? Delhi (Congress central leadership) has to take a decision. If I am asked for my opinion, I will tell them exactly this,” he said without mincing words.
The Amarinder-Sidhu face-off has put paid to AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Rawat’s efforts for cricketer-turned-politician’s rehabilitation.