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As Sidhu hits out against Captain again, Cong MLA writes to Sonia seeking her intervention

Earlier in the day, Sidhu once again attacked Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who also holds Home portfolio, accusing him of evading responsibility in the sacrilege case.

Written by Kanchan Vasdev | Chandigarh |
April 24, 2021 5:59:16 am
Navjot Singh Sidhu, Farm bills, Punjab Farmers, Punjab government, Punjab news, India news, Indian expressNavjot Singh Sidhu. (File)

As former Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu sharpened his attack on CM Amarinder Singh over the post-sacrilege firing case Friday, a Congress MLA shot off a letter to Congress high-command seeking the party chief’s intervention to rein in Sidhu.

Congress MLA from Amritsar (West), Dr Raj Kumar Verka, wrote a letter to AICC interim president Sonia Gandhi asking her to intervene and stop Sidhu from publicly going against the government that was facing a mammoth challenge of handling a situation emerging out of second wave of Covid pandemic and procurement of wheat.

Earlier in the day, Sidhu once again attacked Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who also holds Home portfolio, accusing him of evading responsibility in the sacrilege case.

“Is sacrilege case not the top priority for the Home minister? Evading of responsibility and making only Advocate General (AG) a scapegoat means executive authority has no supervisory control. Who controls the AG? Legal team is just a pawn in this game of shifting responsibilities,” Sidhu tweeted on Friday.

This is the first time in past couple of days when Sidhu has attacked Amarinder overtly. All this while his attack had been veiled.

Punjab’s Advocate General Atul Nanda has invited sharp criticism from all quarters for not being able to defend the investigation by SIT into the sacrilege and subsequent firing cases. The High Court had quashed the SIT investigations causing an embarrassment to the state government.

Talking about his letter to Sonia Gandhi, Verka told The Indian Express, “I am not making the letter public. It is between the party and me. But I have written to them that the state government is already facing a huge challenge from Covid situation. Then, we have wheat procurement on amid the pandemic. The farmers are dealing with rains and the government has to compensate them if there is any loss. In such a situation, Sidhu is coming out with something or the other every day. I have requested the high command to intervene, call him to Delhi and sort out the issue.”

Dr Verka said that Sidhu’s issue was hanging fire for a long time and sorting it out was the need of the hour.

“He has been pressing about the SIT investigation. The government had got the sacrilege and subsequent firing cases investigated. The High Court quashed them. The government can get it investigated again but for now the priorities are Covid and procurement. He should be stopped from going down this line. Whatever misunderstandings he has, should be cleared,” he said.

Dr Verka, a Dalit leader, is the only Congress leader, beside Congress MP Ravneet Bittu, who has spoken openly against Sidhu ever since he launched a tirade. Other leaders have been exercising restraint. Party MP Ravneet Bittu had on Thursday stated that Sidhu was a party-hopper and joined whatever party was in power. He had stated that running the government was a collective responsibility of all leaders.

The government is yet to take a call on its future course in the case, but Amarinder has already made it clear that they will go to the Supreme Court against the High Court decision.

The attacks on Amarinder by Sidhu, who had been pushed to the fringes by the CM, have fuelled speculation that he was wanting out of the Congress as the state is ripening to a third political front.

Earlier, Sidhu had raised questions on his own government for not taking the sacrilege issue to a logical conclusion and also sparing big fish in drugs case. Sidhu had been staying silent for over a year after his resignation from the Cabinet.

He has resurfaced now, launching scathing attack on the government and of late on Amarinder. In his last tweet on Wednesday, Sidhu had exonerated the government and Congress party saying only one person was responsible, without naming the CM.

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