After his public outburst for being cold-shouldered and subsequent absence from the election of Amritsar Mayor on Tuesday, Punjab’s Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu attended the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday. Though Sidhu said at a press conference on Wednesday morning that “he was deeply hurt and pained” at not being consulted in the process to select Mayors, he sat next to the Chief Minister during the meeting but did not broach the issue.
However, after coming out of the meeting, he was again seen handing a statement to the media expressing his displeasure. “Despite being the Local Bodies Minister, I was not included in any decision making on the issue of selection of Mayors of Jalandhar, Patiala and Amritsar. My opinion was not sought at the party level. I was deeply pained and hurt at the behaviour meted out to me. I was not even invited properly for the meeting. Hence, I did not attend the meeting,” the written statement read.
Sidhu had first made a public statement about him being ignored on Monday. Later, Amritsar Congress district president Jugal Kishor Sharma had gone to Sidhu’s house but the latter did not open the door for him. Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa too went to his house on Tuesday morning but was denied entry.
Sidhu, it is learnt, did not even respond to calls by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and PPCC president Sunil Kumar Jakhar on Tuesday evening and stayed away from Amritsar Mayor’s election. Responding to a question, he said he was not at home when the cabinet colleagues came calling. Sources said the party was miffed with Sidhu as he had refused to give a ticket to an Amritsar-based Congress leader Dinesh Bassi for MC elections despite the Chief Minister asking him to do so.
Also, Sidhu’s meeting with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in Delhi earlier this year where the former BJP MP touched his feet had not gone down well with the Congress leaders, sources said. Sidhu had made a statement afterwards that Jaitley was his “Guru” and nobody could stop him from doing do. Amarinder’s and Jaitley’s rivalry goes back to 2014 Lok Sabha elections when Amarinder defeated him with a huge margin of over 1 lakh votes. Amarinder had held Jaitley responsible for a case in a Ludhiana court about his alleged Swiss bank accounts.