Punjab: Navjot Singh Sidhu resigns as Cabinet minister

Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu announced on Sunday that he had resigned as state minister on June 10, and submitted his resignation to Rahul Gandhi.

“Respected Sir, I hereby resign as minister from the Punjab Cabinet,” Sidhu wrote to Gandhi in a letter dated June 10. Sidhu tweeted a copy of the letter on Sunday. He added that he will now send his letter to the chief minister. On June 10, he had put up a picture of his meeting with the Gandhis.

On June 6, Sidhu was stripped of the local bodies, and tourism and culture portfolios, just hours after he skipped a Cabinet meeting and asserted that he cannot be “taken for granted”. Sidhu was given charge of the department of power and energy sources in the shuffle, but he had not taken charge of it even after a month. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was chairing meetings instead, according to the Hindustan Times.

On June 8, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh formed eight consultative groups to monitor the state government’s flagship programmes. Navjot Singh Sidhu was not named in any of the eight groups, signalling a widening rift between the chief minister and Sidhu.

The relationship between the two leaders has worsened since the General Elections in April and May. Sidhu had backed his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu’s allegation that Singh was responsible for her not getting a ticket for the Chandigarh Lok Sabha seat. Singh had dismissed these allegations.

After the results were out on May 23, the chief minister had said Sidhu’s “damaging remarks” may have led to the party’s defeat in the Bathinda seat. Singh also said Sidhu’s performance should be reviewed. In response, Sidhu alleged a nexus between senior Congress leaders and the Badals of the Shiromani Akali Dal. However, he did not name the chief minister in this alleged network.

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