PUNJAB CM INDICATES MOVE TO CHANGE SIDHU’S PORTFOLIO AFTER PARTY’S POOR PERFORMANCE IN URBAN AREAS
Chandigarh, May 23:
Hours after blaming Navjot Singh Sidhu’s inept handling of the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the poor performance of the Congress in the urban areas, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday evening said he intended to change the minister’s portfolio.
In an interview with a news channel, the Chief Minister said the urban vote bank had been the backbone of the Congress in Punjab but Sidhu’s failure to do any development work had impacted the party, which had performed well this time in the rural areas.
Asked if the party high command would agree to the change in Sidhu’s portfolio, Captain Amarinder said he had raised the issue with them some months ago but it had been agreed to take any decision in the matter after the Lok Sabha elections. The Chief Minister said he was confident that not just Rahul Gandhi but even Priyanka, who was believed to have a soft corner for Sidhu, would agree in the interest of the state, and to strengthen the party.
The Chief Minister had earlier in the day pointed out that the Congress in Punjab had performed poorly in urban areas, and Sidhu was the minister for urban development. Asserting that Sidhu had not been able to handle his department, the Chief Minister had made it clear that he intended to take up the issue with the high command once things have settled down in the party, post the election results
Captain Amarinder had also said Sidhu’s damaging remarks ahead of polling in Punjab might have affected the party’s performance in Bathinda. He had further said he would soon be taking up with the Congress high command the issue of Sidhu’s controversial remarks on sacrilege issue as well as blaming the Chief Minister for denial of Congress ticket to his wife from Chandigarh. While everyone had the right to promote themselves in a democracy, it was wrong on his part to make the controversial comments once the battle had started, said Captain Amarinder.
Referring to Sidhu’s remarks on the investigation into the sacrilege cases, the Chief Minister had said the minister evidently did not understand that the SIT was set up by the Vidhan Sabha and it was thus the body which had to complete the probe.
The Chief Minister had also reiterated that Sidhu’s `yari and jhappi’ (friendship and hugs) with the Pakistani Army Chief would not be tolerated, especially by Army personnel, who were being killed by ISI-backed terrorists while he was going hugging their leaders.