Amarinder Singh accepts Sidhu’s resignation, sends it for Governor’s nod
The CM’s office cited Sidhu’s refusal to take over the power ministry as the reason for acceptance of the resignation.
Nearly a week after Navjot Singh Sidhu quit the Punjab cabinet and made his decision public on social media, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh accepted his resignation and sent it to governor VP Singh Badnore.
A statement released by the CM’s office on Saturday said the governor has given his approval. With this, it is curtains on the four-time MP and first-time MLA’s current stint in power.
“Amarinder had been indisposed for the last two days since arrival from Delhi on Wednesday and saw the resignation letter, received at his Chandigarh residence in his absence, on Saturday morning. Since it was a single-line letter with no explanation or elaboration, Amarinder accepted the resignation and the same has been accepted by the governor,” the statement added.
The CM’s office cited Sidhu’s refusal to take over the power ministry as the reason for acceptance of the resignation. “The CM had to monitor work of his (Sidhu’s) ministry during the ongoing crucial paddy season that has seen power demand rise to unprecedented levels in an unrelenting summer,” an official spokesperson said.
Divested of the local bodies department in a cabinet shuffle on June 6, Sidhu had submitted his resignation to Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on June 10 and gone incommunicado. A last-ditch effort to broker a truce between the two leaders by Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra failed this week.
Amarinder refused to offer Sidhu two departments — home, which is headed by him, or give back the local bodies department. Sidhu would not accept any other department, saying he would not let the “non-performer” tag given by Amarinder after the Lok Sabha elections to stick on him, people aware of developments said.
The CM refused to yield even to the Gandhis. Sidhu’s proximity to them did not help at a time the Congress high command is looking weak after Rahul Gandhi’s resignation over the party’s debacle in the general elections. Punjab has been the only face-saver for the party other than Kerala. In all other states, the Congress was routed.
Before Sidhu made his resignation public, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s efforts to placate Amarinder and Sidhu proved futile. The tug-of-war was precipitated by Sidhu’s visit to Pakistan for the groundbreaking ceremony of the Kartarpur corridor last November despite Amarinder declining the offer.
In March, Sidhu went incommunicado for three weeks after not being allowed to speak at Rahul Gandhi’s Moga rally. Finally, it was Sidhu’s “friendly match with the Badals” jibe at the CM on the eve of the parliamentary polls that resulted in him being stripped of the local bodies portfolio after Amarinder blamed his “inept handling” of the department for the party’s poor show in urban seats.