With the entire Congress reeling over Rahul Gandhi’s resignation, Navjot Singh Sidhu and Amarinder Singh’s spat has gone unnoticed. Having been the talk of the town ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, it has now come to light that their tussle is still not over. Sidhu has not taken charge as the power minister despite his appointment almost 40 days ago.
The power situation is Punjab is dreadful, with power cuts lasting over 12 hours a day. It is clear that the sector is unable to cater to the demands in the peak power season. Amidst this, the power minister, Sidhu is nowhere to be found. He was divested of the Local Government and Tourism and Cultural Affairs Departments in June 6 cabinet reshuffle, and since then he has been woeful. Despite assuring Rahul Gandhi that he will join his new department, Sidhu’s office remains locked. Sidhu’s childish tantrums and hunger for power has led to the citizens’ suffering. The state’s farmers have now resorted to protests over the long and frequent power cuts.
BJP leaders are expressing concern over the condition of the common man whom Sidhu is ignoring for his power struggle. Senior BJP leader Vineet Joshi stated, “Sidhu is hungry for power, is hungry for posts and not worried about the common man who is facing power cuts.”
Moreover, the situation has become a cause of deep embarrassment for the Congress party, at the state as well as at the national level. There is a clear lack of coordination in the Punjab Congress, as Sidhu refuses to listen to his CM. Punjab CM Capt Amarinder himself is at a loss for words over Sidhu’s unwarranted conduct. When he was asked about the prevailing situation of Sidhu not having joined the Power Department, the Chief Minister avoided the query.
Completely distraught at Sidhu’s blatant ignorance of his elected duties, the CM, along with three cabinet ministers have met Congress leader Ahmed Patel to discuss the state of affairs. A few Congress leaders, including Cabinet minister Rajinder Singh; have appealed to Sidhu to assume his responsibilities. Whereas, the other Congress leaders have refused to back Sidhu as he is facing opposition within the party. Needless to say, the leaders are divided in their approach.
This is not heeding well for the Punjab Congress, which the opposition in Punjab is making note of. Senior Akali Dal spokesperson Daljit Singh Cheema stated, “Punjab is facing a serious Constitutional crisis as a minister is not ready to accept the orders of his chief minister. This sends a wrong message to the common people. The Chief Minister should either remove Navjot Singh Sidhu or resign himself.” BJP national secretary Tarun Chugh has also written a letter to the governor of Punjab regarding the crisis, pointing out that Sidhu was drawing his salary and enjoying perks without discharging any of his duties. “I request the governor to take a decision in Punjab’s interest. If a minister doesn’t want to work, someone else should look after his department. If he’s drawing a salary but not working, action should be taken,” Chugh said.
Navjot Singh Sidhu’s shenanigans go a long way. Sidhu and CM Amarinder have been having disagreements for a long time and this feud now seems to be the final nail in the coffin. The tussle does not seem to be progressing towards any understanding and seems to have become more stubborn ever since Sidhu met Rahul Gandhi. The blatant show of disobedience and defiance by Sidhu is not just restricted to internal Congress leadership but is affecting the citizens of Punjab, who have to suffer from frequent power cuts in an extremely hot weather, while an incognito Sidhu is no doubt enjoying a luxurious lifestyle, out of everyone’s reach. The sheer lack of duty towards citizens indicates the kind of leader Sidhu is and if he cannot perform his duty he has no right to hold the position in Punjab government.