CHANDIGARH/NEW DELHI :
NAVJOT Singh Sidhu on Tuesday resigned as the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief, plunging the party into a fresh crisis just months ahead of the Assembly elections in the State. Hours later, Razia Sultana, a part of the new 18-member ministry led by Charanjit Singh Channi, too put in her papers, expressing solidarity with the former cricketer. Sidhu, 57, who announced his resignation shortly after the allocation of portfolios to the members of the new State Cabinet, said he remains with the party. He was appointed the party’s State unit President on July 18 amid a bitter power tussle with Amarinder Singh, who stepped down as the CM 10 days back while accusing the party high command of humiliating him.
Sidhu didn’t elaborate why he has quit. But speculation in party circles on the reason ranges from his displeasure over the allocation of the home portfolio to Deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa to the appointments of the acting police chief and the state advocate general by the new CM. “The collapse of a man’s character stems from the compromise corner, I can never compromise on Punjab’s future and the agenda for the welfare of Punjab,” he said in his letter to Sonia Gandhi. “Therefore, I hereby resign as the President of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Will continue to serve the Congress,” the letter made public on Twitter said.
Amarinder Singh, who had called Sidhu “dangerous” and “anti-national”, and threatened to pit a strong candidate against him in the coming elections ensuring that he doesn’t become the chief minister, was quick to react. “I told you so… he is not a stable man and not fit for the border state of Punjab,” the former CM tweeted. The abrupt resignation took place on a day Amarinder Singh was headed to Delhi, and the day before Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal was scheduled to visit Punjab and make some “big announcements”. Singh’s travel plan had triggered speculation that he might meet some BJP leaders.