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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Navjot Singh Sidhu quits Punjab Cabinet: A look at his time as Congress leader

The Congress leader's differences with the Punjab chief minister came out in the open after the latter accused Sidhu of damaging the party's prospects before the general elections through "irresponsible actions".

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: July 14, 2019 3:14:59 pm
navjot singh sidhu, navjot singh sidhu quits cabinet, navjot singh sidhu quits punjab cabinet, navjot singh sidhu resigns from punjab cabinet, congress, amarinder singh, punjab news Navjot Singh Sidhu quit the Punjab Cabinet on Sunday.

Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday resigned from the Punjab Cabinet amid differences with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh. The cricketer-turned-politician tweeted a picture of his resignation letter which was addressed to Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. “I hereby resign as Minister from Punjab Cabinet,” the letter read.

Here is a look at his political journey every since he joined Congress:

# Navjot Singh Sidhu had formally joined Congress on January 15, 2017, four months after he had officially quit the BJP on grounds that he was being sidelined. He was later elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly from Amritsar East and became the state tourism and cultural affairs minister. He had hogged the headlines for his push for the Kartarpur corridor between India and Pakistan.

# Cracks in the relationship between Amarinder and Sidhu first appeared after the latter went to Pakistan for the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2018. Sidhu, at the ceremony, was photographed embracing Pakistan Army chief  Qamar Javed Bajwa.

“Everyday our jawans are getting martyred. To hug their Chief General Bajwa…I am against this,” Amarinder had said on the controversial hug.

# In February this year, Sidhu again landed in a huge controversy for his comments on the deadly Pulwama terror attack in which 40 CRPF personnel lost their lives. In the aftermath of the attack, Sidhu had said that “for a handful people, you cannot blame an entire nation.”

# Sidhu was one of the star campaigners of the party during the Lok Sabha elections. He aggressively campaigned for the party in the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Chhattisgarh assembly elections for 17 days, injuring his vocal cords in the process. He was also advised by doctors to take complete rest.

# However, on April 23, the Election Commission banned him from campaigning for 72 hours for violating the Model Code of Conduct after he was found seeking votes on religious lines during a rally in Bihar’s Katihar district.

# Sidhu was also upset with the party after his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu was denied a ticket from Amritsar. After his wife alleged that it was the chief minister and party’s Punjab affairs in-charge Asha Kumari who ensured that she does not get the ticket, Sidhu said, “My wife has that much strength and moral authority that she will never lie. This is my answer.”

# The Congress leader’s differences with the Punjab chief minister came out in the open after the latter accused Sidhu of damaging the party’s prospects before the general elections through “irresponsible actions”. Singh had also decided to divest Singh of his responsibilities.

# In an apparent snub, Sidhu was also left out of the consultative groups formed by the chief minister to accelerate the implementation of the government’s flagship programmes.

# To retaliate, Sidhu skipped the first state Cabinet meeting after the polls.

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