Five possible reasons why Navjot Singh Sidhu may have quit

A series of behind-the-scenes events from differences over portfolio allocation to key appointments of DGP and AG led to Sidhu’s exit as Punjab Congress chief in less than five weeks of his taking charge
Navjot Singh Sidhu resigned as Punjab Congress chief on Tuesday, less than five weeks of taking charge. From a limited say in cabinet formation to the appointment of the top police and law officers, Sidhu had his reasons to quit. (HT file photo)
Navjot Singh Sidhu resigned as Punjab Congress chief on Tuesday, less than five weeks of taking charge. From a limited say in cabinet formation to the appointment of the top police and law officers, Sidhu had his reasons to quit. (HT file photo)
Updated on Sep 28, 2021 04:39 PM IST
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Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu’s surprise resignation on Tuesday, less than five weeks after he took over the reins of the faction-torn state unit, was the culmination of a series of behind-the-scenes events that left him peeved since the resignation of bête noire, Captain Amarinder Singh, as the chief minister. HT looks at possible reasons why cricketer-turned-politician may have called it quits:

-- Though the Congress leadership endorsed Sidhu’s choice of Charanjit Singh Channi as Punjab’s first Dalit chief minister, it nixed his opposition to the appointment of Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, a prominent Jat Sikh face, as deputy chief minister.

-- Sidhu, also a Jat Sikh, is believed to have viewed Randhawa’s elevation as a threat to his chief ministerial ambitions after the 2022 assembly polls.

-- He is believed to have been miffed at being overruled on Randhawa who had made a common cause with him in the rebellion against Amarinder Singh.

-- Sidhu is seen to have been riled over a limited say in the formation of the 15-minister cabinet last Sunday. The cabinet had a stamp of Rahul Gandhi who did not go by Sidhu’s bidding for ministerial berths for his loyalists Kuljit Singh Nagra and Surjit Singh Dhiman.

Also read: Navjot Singh Sidhu resigns as Punjab Congress chief

-- What is believed to have added insult to Sidhu’s injury was the return of Rana Gurjit Singh, a sugar baron from Kapurthala, to the cabinet four years after he quit the Amarinder Singh-led ministry over allegations of involvement in a sand auction scam. Sidhu opposed Rana’s comeback, but the high command overlooked his objections and that of eight party lawmakers from the Doaba region.

-- Sidhu is believed to have also been miffed over Channi’s assertion, with the high command’s backing, in the allocation of ministerial portfolios. On Sunday, Channi gave the powerful home department to Randhawa.

-- What is seen to have been the last straw was Channi ignoring Sidhu’s recommendations for the appointment of Siddhartha Chattopadhyay as director general of police and DS Patwalia as advocate general.

-- Channi, in a move seen to be an attempt to shake off the perception about Sidhu calling the shots in his government, went ahead with his own choices, appointing Iqbal Preet Singh Sihota and APS Deol for top police and law office posts.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    A journalist with 30 years standing, Ramesh is a Senior Resident Editor at Chandigarh. He specialises in covering the north Indian states including Punjab and J & K,besides the Punjabi diaspora.

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