The stalemate over Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s new portfolio shows no signs of ending with CM Amarinder Singh, according to sources, standing his ground despite Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s intervention. Sidhu has refused to take charge of Power Department, which he was assigned after the Cabinet rejig on Thursday.
Sources said Rahul Gandhi had spoken to Amarinder on the issue but the conversation did not lead anywhere. Amarinder is learnt to have told Rahul that there was no question of restoring the portfolio in the face of defiance. Sidhu had met Rahul on Monday in Delhi.
“It is obvious that a minister not reporting in his department will be a cause of embarrassment. And also that the deadlock could not be ended even after intervention of the high command. Knowing both Amarinder and Sidhu, it seems they will stick to their guns. It is not an issue between Sidhu and Captain but it is an issue between Rahul and Captain now. It is unlikely that Amarinder will budge from his stand especially in the current scenario when the high command is weak,” said a senior party leader on anonymity.
Sources close to Sidhu said he is unlikely to join in the present circumstances as he feels aggrieved as he was painted as a “non-performer” for “reasons other than performance.” They added that he was in Chandigarh, spending time at his official residence. He was not available to media.
General Secretary incharge Asha Kumari said she was not aware of any developments or whether Sidhu would join the department or not. Since Power is an important department in the current season with mercury soaring and paddy transplantation starting, another senior leader said if Sidhu did not join, the Power Department could be taken care of by the Chief Minister’s office. “Something will have to be done. This happens all over the world that if a department’s minister is not there, the department is handled by the Chief Minister. Let there be a stalemate.”