Two days after Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu sent his resignation from Cabinet to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, it has not been accepted as the CM is yet to take a decision on it.
Till Tuesday the Chief Minister’s Office was of the view that Amarinder would take a call on his resignation on Wednesday, after returning from Delhi. Sources close to Chief Minister, however, said Amarinder had not reached Chandigarh from Delhi till the filing of this report. They said there was no decision on the resignation as of Wednesday as the CM is yet to see the resignation letter. He would take a call on the resignation on Thursday, said a spokesperson.
Sources in Congress said the party was in a dilemma over accepting Sidhu’s resignation amid a stalemate between the CM and Sidhu.
While Amarinder had changed his portfolio citing non-performance, Sidhu had refused to accept the new departments and had not assumed charge for over a month. Sidhu was earlier the Local Bodies and Tourism & Culture Minister. He was stripped of both his departments as his feud with Amarinder had reached a flashpoint last month.
It is learnt that the Congress is of the view that dropping Sidhu May be “bad optics” for Congress as Akalis have been vehemently demanding that he should be dropped from the Cabinet. If the Congress mishandled the issue, it could boomerang and send out a wrong signal. “He has the reputation of being an upright politician. If he is sacrificed by Congress it would not send the right signal,” said a functionary of the party privy to the discussions going on internally. He also said it was being discussed that Sidhu “outside Congress” would be a problem for the party that was eyeing a return to power in 2022 Assembly election.
But at the same time, it is learnt, the party finds it difficult to effect a truce between Amarinder and Sidhu. Both are likely to stick to their guns with neither Amarinder not Sidhu are likely to buckle under pressure. Also, there is an issue of indiscipline as Sidhu had stayed away from his office without leave for over a month. “This is defiance. Amarinder is the CM and portfolios are the prerogative of the CM. The CM will never give the Local Bodies portfolio back to Sidhu,” said a leader.
He added that it was being discussed that the high command would first sort out its crisis in Delhi. Once the new president is in saddle, it may take a call on Sidhu.
“They can always direct Sidhu to join the new department. If not CM, he would listen to the high command. He has been calling them up and they have been entertaining him. He should be willing to accept their word,” said the leader, adding that they were trying to sort out the issue at the earliest.
“The CM has already given the general and soldier example by saying a soldier has to follow the orders. He would have accepted his resignation on day one itself. But he too has been waiting,” the leader said.
Sidhu is still incommunicado. He has not been answering any calls for last over a month.
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