Among the tranche of political critics that took on Navjot Singh Sidhu after his resignation as PPCC chief, the first one from the Congress was former CM Amarinder Singh who launched a frontal attack on the cricketer-turned-politician.
Apart from calling Sidhu and “unstable” man, Amarinder, in a statement, further termed the resignation “sheer drama”, adding that it showed that Sidhu was preparing the ground to quit the Congress and join hands with someone other party in the run-up to the state Assembly polls.
“I had been saying all along that this man is unstable and dangerous, and cannot be entrusted with the task of running Punjab,” the heavy-hitting former CM said, adding that Sidhu had also proved to be absolutely incompetent during his stint as a minister in his government.
Earlier, soon after stepping down as CM, Amarinder 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.
On Tuesday, he was quick to post his first reaction in a tweet after Sidhu stepped down as PPCC chief.
“I told you so.he is not a stable man and not fit for the border state of Punjab,” the former CM tweeted.
Amarinder, who is in Delhi on a personal visit, said that Punjab is a sensitive state, sharing over 600 km of border with a hostile Pakistan, and Sidhu’s close links with his cricketer friend and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and ISI chief Qamar Javed Bajwa “are a serious threat to India’s national security”.
He said that by resigning within two months of taking over as the state Congress chief, Sidhu has once again exhibited his “shifty character”.
“I have known this boy since his childhood and he has been a loner and can never be a team player,” said Amarinder, recalling how the cricketer had deserted the Indian team in 1996 in England. “That’s what his real character is,” said the former chief minister.
Describing Sidhu as a “flamboyant” speaker, Amarinder said what he speaks in public meetings or rallies may make people laugh but it is all froth, with no substance.
“People do not vote for buffoonery,” he said, adding that no one take him (Sidhu) seriously.
Replying to a question that Sidhu was apparently upset with the inclusion of certain ministers in CM Charanjit Singh Channi’s Cabinet, Amarinder said that the PPCC chief apparently wanted to run the government by remote control. “What nonsense is this! Cabinet formation is the prerogative of the chief minister, so why should Sidhu interfere in it,” he quipped.
On Sidhu’s claim that he was quitting as the party chief on matters of principle, Amarinder quipped, “what principles is he talking about. He’s only making grounds to quit the Congress. You wait and see, he will join hands with some other party very soon.”
Replying to a question, the former minister said that Congress high command should immediately accept Sidhu’s resignation and appoint some competent man in his place.”
When asked if he would back former PPCC chief, Sunil Jakhar, for the job, Amarinder said, “He (Jakhar) is very competent and had performed exceeding well as the party chief”.
On Sidhu’s resignation, Jakhar tweeted: “It’s just not cricket! What stands compromised in this entire ‘episode’ is the faith reposed in the (outgoing ?) PCC President by the Congress Leadership. No amount of grand standing can justify this breach of trust placing his benefactors in a peculiar predicament.”
Meanwhile, speaking on speculation over his visit to Delhi, the former Chief Minister said he had come on a personal visit, with the main intent of vacating the Kapurthala House for the new Punjab CM.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines