‘Wants to replace me’: Voting over, Punjab CM hammers Navjot Sidhu
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday said his cabinet colleague and Congress’ star campaigner Navjot Singh Sidhu wants to replace him and he has asked the party high command to take action against his minister.
Talking to the media after casting his vote along with wife and Congress candidate Preneet Kaur in Patiala, the CM said, “Sidhu’s ill-timed comments against me and the Punjab Congress leadership have damaged the party. He is harming the Congress with his irresponsible comments.”
“If he is ambitious, it’s fine. People have ambitions. I know him since childhood. I have no difference of opinion with him. If he is a real Congressman, he should have chosen a better time to air his grievances and not do it right before polling in Punjab,” Captain Singh said in response to a question on Sidhu’s claim of a “friendly match” with the Akali Dal at a rally in Bathinda.
Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu had accused the CM of being instrumental in denying her a party ticket from Chandigarh, and the minister later backed her. He has also expressed resentment over not being involved in the election campaign in Punjab.
“It was not his election but that of the entire Congress. Now, it is for the high command to act against Sidhu. As a party, the Congress does not tolerate indiscipline,” Captain Singh added.
Soon after the CM’s statement, state cabinet ministers Brahm Mohindra and Sukhjinder Randhawa said Captain Amarinder Singh was their undisputed leader in Punjab, demanding action against Sidhu for his remarks.
“Sidhu is sabotaging the party’s interests by his baseless statements against the CM. There is no replacement for Captain Amarinder Singh. Punjab voted for the Congress under his leadership. We are with him,” Mohindra said.
Randhawa said, “Sidhu left the BJP and quit the Rajya Sabha after he was denied the Lok Sabha ticket and other personal reasons and not because of Punjab. He never left BJP for sacrilege. Even his wife Navjot Kaur, an MLA in 2015, didn’t utter a single word in the assembly on the sacrilege issue.”
The party’s state leadership is learnt to have approached the high command to take action against Sidhu for his “friendly match” remark. When Sidhu denied having uttered such words against the CM after he was questioned by the high command, the CM supplied the audio and video clips of the rally, a party leader said. The issue is set to rock the next cabinet meeting, wherein ministers are likely to put Sidhu in the dock.