Sack AG Deol, form fresh panel for DGP post: Sidhu sets preconditions to resume duties as Punjab Congress chief

Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday announced that he has withdrawn his resignation. Sidhu, who stepped down from the post on September 28, said he will return to his duties as the state unit chief the day new advocate general is appointed and a new panel for (appointment of director general of police) is received (from UPSC)
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu addresses the media at the Chandigarh Press Club on Friday. (Keshav Singh/HT)
Punjab Congress chief Navjot Singh Sidhu addresses the media at the Chandigarh Press Club on Friday. (Keshav Singh/HT)
Published on Nov 06, 2021 02:17 AM IST
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By, Chandigarh

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Friday withdrew his resignation as state Congress president, but hit out at chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi and put a precondition for resuming his duties.

Sidhu, who stepped down from the post on September 28, said he will return to his duties as the state unit chief the day new advocate general is appointed and a new panel for (appointment of director general of police) is received (from UPSC). “It was never personal or a matter of ego. It is the question of conscience of Punjab. Without moral authority, you cannot speak truth,” the Amritsar East MLA said at a press conference here before questioning Channi over his choices for the two senior positions and steps taken by his government for delivery of justice in sacrilege cases and action against drug trafficking.

The Congress leader has been opposed to the appointment of APS Deol and Iqbal Preet Singh Sahota as the state’s AG and DGP by Channi who took over as the chief minister following Capt Amarinder Singh’s resignation on September 18 amid a rift in the state unit. The PPCC chief kept pressing for their removal as both Deol and Sahota continue to hold their posts. Deol had resigned three days ago but his resignation is yet to be accepted. Sidhu’s statement came three days after he and Channi, along with Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Chaudhary, visited Kedarnath Temple in Uttarakhand to put up a show of unity. On their return, the two leaders attended a meeting of Congress MLAs and praised each other.

At his press conference, Sidhu said the state government was changed by people in 2017 over Bargari sacrilege and drugs and later a chief minister (Capt Amarinder) also removed over these big issues. “The offices of AG and DGP are crucial to take to logical conclusion the issue of Bargari sacrilege and drugs,” he said. He said that Sahota was appointed as head of SIT to investigate sacrilege incident by the then Badal government six years ago and their blue-eyed officer has become the DGP whereas Deol represented former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini in court, who headed the police during the sacrilege and police firing incidents, and is now the AG.

“What is this happening…when we go to villages, how are we going to answer people? What are we going to say? The party is demanding answers. After three special investigation teams (SITs), seven first information reports (FIRs), two commissions and six years of the sacrilege cases, are these the only officers you could find,” he asked. Questioning the delay in action in sacrilege cases and making public report on drug trafficking, Sidhu asked about the steps taken by the government in the past 50 days. “Don’t you want the report to be made public in the state assembly? Which court order is restraining you? Who is stopping?” he said.

Sidhu further said that if the government does not have the guts to make the special task force (STF) report public, it should give it to the party. “I will release it .The high command has no objections. They want action on 18-point agenda,” he said. He also demanded a white paper on power purchase agreements with complete details of the circumstances in which these were inked, who signed them and why these were not renegotiated.

Asked about his repeated lollipop and empty treasury barbs at Channi, Sidhu claimed his lollipop comment was aimed at (Delhi chief minister and AAP national convener Arvind) Kejriwal for promising 26 lakh jobs during one of his trips to the state. “As for khali khazana, I have talking about this from 2016 in my speeches and meetings,” he said. On using foul language against former CM Capt Amarinder Singh, he replied, “Doesn’t an 80-year-old person need to maintain dignity? You have to earn respect”.

In response to a question on the Congress’ CM-face for the 2022 poll, he said that it is decided by the people.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    A senior assistant editor, Navneet Sharma leads the Punjab bureau for Hindustan Times. He writes on politics, public affairs, civil services and the energy sector.

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