November 3, 2021 10:23:21 am
AFTER a day-long drama, that saw Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi and PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu flying together to Kedarnath temple in Uttarakhand, the Punjab government on Tuesday said it had received the resignation of Advocate General A P S Deol.
The resignation was sent to the government on November 1, the same day it was decided that it would not be accepted following Sidhu’s tirade against the CM.
The additional chief secretary (home) has been asked to process the resignation and the AG has been asked to continue in office till a new incumbent is appointed. Even though the resignation was made public on Tuesday, the government has decided not to give Deol an immediate reprieve. Sources said the ACS (Home) will now put up the resignation to the Cabinet ministers in its next meeting, where the ministers will take a call on it.
A senior official of the government said that since the AG’s was a constitutional post, approval for appointment and acceptance of resignation is done by the Cabinet. Another senior official however said that this is the first time that he was seeing the AG’s resignation being sent to the Cabinet. The next Cabinet meeting is on November 6.
The AG has cited personal reasons for not being able to continue in his office. While his resignation was submitted on Monday, it was put on hold by the CM after Sidhu’s diatribe against him in function. Sources said Sidhu’s speech was played to Channi in the Cabinet meeting itself, where he had turned furious and immediately sent it to the high command.
Later, Deol had stated that he had not resigned. He was continuing as AG although there was a lot of pressure from PPCC chief, he had said.
CONG WAS FIREFIGHTING WHOLE NIGHT
The government refusing to accept Deol’s resignation was seen as a clear message to Sidhu.
Sources said that after a politically hot day on Monday, Sidhu’s aide and Cabinet minister Pargat Singh got active to save the situation.
“The high command was conveyed that Sidhu is a force multiplier. He is a popular leader and if he quits Congress at this juncture, it would affect the party badly. The high command was also told that Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was looking around for a face desperately. If Sidhu plans to quit then it would affect Congress chances.”
“Sidhu had stated on Monday that people will vote for those who would give them a ‘Diwali gift’ or to those who will pull the state out of this mess.
He had said the people of the state will elect their leader on their own and that too after rising above the party lines. There was a subtle message in this. The high command was made aware of the situation,” said a source.
Channi, who had made an announcement on Monday that power would be made cheaper in the state by Rs 3 every unit, spent some time sitting on the roadside outside his residence while listening to complaints of people, as hectic parleys continued at Pargat Singh’s house to get Sidhu and Channi back together.
Finally, it was decided that the duo will be taken to Kedarnath temple on Tuesday to convey a message that both were together. “At the same time, the Congress will be able to consolidate its Hindu vote. For Congress, Sidhu appeals to both Sikh and Hindu voters. He is the secular face,” said a source.
TO KEDARNATH IN GOVT CHOPPER
Sidhu and Channi were accompanied by Punjab affairs in-charge Harish Chaudhary and Vidhan Sabha speaker Rana Kanwarpal Singh when they took off for Uttarakhand in a government chopper.
They had to take a break at Dehradun due to bad weather where they called on former general secretary in-charge Harish Rawat. It is learnt that Channi and Sidhu’s body language during the trip was far from friendly.
Sidhu posted a picture of all four together at Kedarnath and tweeted: “Life is fragile, handle with prayer …. At Kedarnath, the heavenly abode of Lord Shiva ….Har Har Mahadev!”
Former PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar was at his sarcastic best when he did not miss a chance when he posted a picture of Channi, Sidhu, Rawat, and Chaudhary together and wrote: “Political pilgrims but each one trying to appease a different Deity .”
WILL WORK UNITEDLY FOR PARTY, SIDHU TELLS MLAs
After returning from Kedarnath, Sidhu addressed the MLAs at Punjab Bhawan in the evening and exported all MLAs to work for the party unitedly. Chaudhary had called the meeting of all MLAs. Around 35 MLAs attended the meeting.
Sidhu is learnt to have told MLAs that Channi was doing a good job.
Chaudhary asked the MLAs not to speak against former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who had resigned from Congress on Tuesday and threatened to expose a number of MLAs who were allegedly engaged in illegal sand mining business.
Channi, while addressing the meeting, indicated thatt the government will be taking major decisions in the days to come. He indicated that the excise duty on petrol and diesel could be reduced.
During the meeting, Chaudhary told the MLAs that they should not spend time in Chandigarh anymore and should rather concentrate on their constituencies. He also told them to listen to the people’s problems and provide solutions as the state gears up for Assembly elections.
He is learnt to have told them that the ticket will be given on merit and no lobbying will help. The CM and Chaudhary will be available to the MLAs once a week.
THANK GOD I AM NOT IN GOVT ANYMORE: CAPT
Reacting to the drama in Congress, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh told The Indian Express: “I was thinking to myself that thankfully I am not in the government. This is best thing to happen to me. Otherwise this fellow (Sidhu) would have done this to me also. It is absolutely a joke. He used to do this to me also. He would tweet against me and my government. I told Delhi several times but they did not do anything. Channi is a decent man and the both Sidhus are totally unstable.”
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