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As Capt readies to meet Sonia, detractors raise political heat

In Delhi, the CM will also be meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Lal Mandaviya to take up issues concerning the state, including cross-border terrorism and Covid-19 vaccinations.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
August 10, 2021 9:11:48 am
As Capt readies to meet Sonia, detractors raise political heat that a Cabinet reshuffle is on the cards. (File)

A day before Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s scheduled meet with AICC interim president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi, political temperatures rose once again in the state Congress with PCC chief Navjot Sidhu unleashing a flurry of tweets over drug menace against his own government and a group of MLAs, including five ministers — Sukhjinder Randhawa, Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Charanjeet Channi, Sukhbinder Sarkaria, Razia Sultana — writing to Sonia Gandhi complaining that the 18-point agenda was not being acted upon.

The counter moves to CM’s Delhi visit come amid speculation, As Capt readies to meet Sonia, detractors raise political heat that a Cabinet reshuffle is on the cards.

The government has not held a Cabinet meeting in the last two months.

In Delhi, the CM will also be meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Lal Mandaviya to take up issues concerning the state, including cross-border terrorism and Covid-19 vaccinations.

New PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu’s tirade against the government is also likely to be on CM’s agenda on discussion with Sonia.

Sidhu tweeted against the government on Monday stating that he would bring a resolution in Vidhan Sabha to make STF report on drugs public, if the government fails to do so.

Sidhu said that people had waited for 2.5 years for the report to be made public.

In a series of tweets Monday, Sidhu wrote: “Punishing culprits behind drug trade is Congress’s priority under 18-point agenda.”

“Hon’ble High Court had asked Punjab govt to proceed as per law on the STF Report. On 23 May 2018 Govt filed before Court Opinion-cum-Status Report that still awaits the light of day in sealed envelope.

After 2.5 years of delay, how much more the People of Punjab should wait ?” he said in another tweet.
Sidhu added: “What investigation had Punjab Police done? What action had Punjab Govt taken? Must be brought into public domain. Since submission of reports, what further action did the state take in 2.5 years? Govt must make itself accountable to the Public with complete transparency!!,”

While any member of the Vidhan Sabha can bring a resolution, he needs majority to get it passed. The Amritsar East MLA has been garnering support from several other MLAs lately. His latest move could set up another potential showdown with the CM.

The Chief Minister, meanwhile, has been wanting to drop a few ministers and induct others.

The last Cabinet meeting was held on June 18 in which several controversial decisions, including giving government jobs to sons of two MLAs, was also taken. Since then no Cabinet meeting has taken place even though many agendas are waiting for the stamp of the council of ministers. Sources said the CM was waiting the high command’s to tell him whether he should rejig the Cabinet or not and had sought an appointment with Gandhi.

Sources said that the CM was also taking the progress report on 18-point agenda for the government handed over to Amarinder by Mallikarjun Kharge panel.

While the Congress is abuzz that the CM was willing to drop a minister from Majha brigade and change the portfolios of others, Amarinder also been on the defensive as a few of his ministers have landed up in the controversies. These include, Rana Gurmeet Sodhi, who was seeking compensation twice for a piece of land acquired by the government, Sadhu Singh Dharamsot against whose department the Centre had ordered a CBI probe into alleged scholarship scam, Sunder Sham Arora, who landed in a controversy for auctioning JCT land.

“If the CM drops anyone and retains these ministers, it will be a handle for the opposition that the controversial ministers have been retained. At the same time, if he does not drop those who raised a banner of revolt against him, then he would be unable to convey a message,” a party leader said.
Whatever may be the outcome of the meeting but several ministers are anxious that they may be dropped or their department may be changed.

The CM is also meeting Amit Shah to take up cross border terrorism especially after Punjab Police recovered a tiffin bomb from Amritsar on Sunday. He will also meet Union Health Minister to demand more vaccines for the state.

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