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Explained: 5 reasons why Navjot Singh Sidhu quit as Punjab Congress Chief

Navjot Singh Sidhu's tenure as Punjab Congress chief, won after a bitter battle with former chief minister Amarinder Singh, lasted less than three months. Here is what led to his quick exit.

Sidhu, who was appointed the PPCC chief on July 19, failed to get any officer of his choice on key posts. (File)

Two days after the swearing-in of the rejigged Punjab Congress Cabinet, PPCC chief Navjot Singh Sidhu Tuesday dropped his resignation bomb, tweeting out the letter to Sonia Gandhi about him stepping down as state Congress chief. But what led him to take this step days after the resignation of his bête noire, Capt Amarinder Singh, as Chief Minister? Here are five reasons.

The Cabinet composition

Just a few hours before the new Cabinet was sworn in, six ministers from Doaba region shot off a letter to Sidhu against the elevation of Rana Gurjit Singh, pointing out that he had resigned from the ministry in 2018 due to allegations of graft in a sand mining case.

It is learnt that Sidhu too was against the inclusion of Rana Gurjit, the MLA from Kapurthala, but the Congress high command went ahead with its move, choosing instead to remove Kuljit Singh Nagra, working president of PPCC, considered close to Sidhu.

To add insult to the injury, the ministry also included Sidhu’s vocal critic Dr Raj Kumar Verka. He was accommodated as a Valmiki face in the ministry.

Problem of portfolios

It is learnt that Sidhu did not agree with the decision of giving the all-important Home portfolio to deputy chief minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa. Sidhu was reportedly in favour of the CM retaining the department, but it was given to Randhawa. Earlier, Sidhu had shot down the move to elevate Randhawa as the CM, saying that if the party was choosing a Jat Sikh face, it should be him.

The new AG

On Monday evening, the Congress government appointed senior advocate APS Deol as its advocate general. This led to the government coming under fire from the Opposition, as Deol was till recently the counsel for former DGP Sumedh Singh Saini, the police chief during the incidents of sacrilege and police firing on protesters.


Deol had successfully got him blanket bail in four cases filed by the Punjab police. Sidhu supporters claim he was miffed at this move as it seemed to contradict the government resolve to punish those behind police firing on protesters at Behbal Kalan, in which two were killed.

The new admin

Sidhu, who was appointed the PPCC chief on July 19, failed to get any officer of his choice on key posts, including that of the Punjab Police chief. It is learnt that his adviser, former IPS officer Mohd Mustafa — whose wife Razia Sultana also quit the Channi ministry hours after Sidhu’s resignation — was keen on appointing S Chattopadhyaya to the post, but CM Channi managed to appoint IS Sahota, an officer of his choice.

A resurgent Channi


It is no secret that Sidhu fancies the top post. However, state Congress in-charge Harish Rawat’s statement, that the party would fight the 2022 elections under the leadership of Sidhu, was met with opposition from the Punjab Congress, forcing him to moderate his remark.

Also, as CM Channi hit the ground running, political observers began to comment that he was not a “night watchman” who was keeping the seat warm for Sidhu. This may have added to the discomfort of Sidhu, who was increasingly feeling powerless.

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First published on: 28-09-2021 at 18:54 IST
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