The stalemate between Capt Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu refused to end with Chief Minister yet to take call on his Cabinet colleague’s resignation with even efforts made by AICC general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to break the ice between the two coming to a naught.
In a cabinet reshuffle on June 6, Amarinder had divested Sidhu of his Local Bodies and Tourism and Culture Affairs portfolios citing non-performance and assigned him the Power and New and Renewable Energy department. Sidhu, however, didn’t assume charge and resigned from the cabinet on Monday.
Amarinder, who was in Delhi earlier this week, had said Tuesday he would decide on Sidhu’s resignation after going through the contents of the letter once he reached Chandigarh. He returned to Chandigarh Wednesday evening but was yet to take a call on Sidhu’s fate.
Sources in Congress told The Indian Express that Priyanka tried to intervene between the warring duo during Amarinder’s stay in Delhi. Sidhu also met her in Delhi on Thursday. “But her intervention has not helped. Both are sticking to their guns,” said a senior Congress leader privy to discussions.
It is learnt that as a compromise pact, she told Sidhu that he can be offered one more department along with the power portfolio. Sidhu, however, refused to say that if he accepts the power department, it would send out the message that he has accepted the “non-performer tag” given to him by the CM.
On the other hand, Amarinder is learnt to have told Priyanka that if he budged and gave back the local bodies department to Sidhu, it will not send the right message across. Other ministers who were stripped of their departments would start defying the CM and it would become a never-ending problem. Also, an argument was put across that it was the CM’s prerogative to change portfolios.
Sidhu is also learnt to have told Priyanka that he was singled out, as several other ministers who could not perform politically as well as administratively were “rewarded” with better departments.
Sources close to Sidhu said it was almost final that he will not join the power department unless he is given back the local bodies department, which is highly unlikely. In this scenario the CM has only two options, either to accept the resignation or withdraw Sidhu’s portfolio, hand it to some other minister or overtake it himself. It remains to be seen what is in store for Sidhu.