Hours after Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh accepted cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation letter and forwarded it to Governor VP Singh Badnore, the Governor approved his acceptance of the letter on Saturday. This comes almost a week after Sidhu quit as Punjab cabinet minister. indicating no induction in the cabinet, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said that Amarinder will hold the Power portfolio himself for now.
The CMO has confirmed the development. With the acceptance of his resignation, the stalemate between the duo has ended. Sidhu had sent his resignation to the CM on Monday. But Amarinder had not accepted it. The decision was finally taken on Saturday morning. Amarinder had divested Sidhu of his Local Bodies and Tourism and Culture Affairs department on June 6 citing non-performance.
A spokesperson of CMO said, “Amarinder, who had been indisposed for the last two days, since arrival from Delhi, saw the resignation letter this morning. He has sent the same to Governor VPS Badnore, for formal acceptance.”
“The Chief Minister had earlier, in Delhi, said he would see the resignation letter, which was received at his Chandigarh residence in his absence, and take a decision. The letter, however, was just a single sentence tendering Sidhu’s resignation, with no explanation or elaboration,“ said the spokesperson.
He had given him the departments of Power and New and Renewable Energy. But Sidhu had refused to assume charge. He had handed over his resignation to the then AICC president Rahul Gandhi on June 10. He made it public on Sunday by tweeting it. Amarinder had then stated that he has not received his resignation. Reacting to it, Sidhu had sent it to Amarinder on Monday.
Sources revealed that AICC General secretary Priyanka Gandhi had intervened between the duo during this week but had failed to reach a compromise. Both were learnt to be sticking to their guns. Sidhu, they said, had refused to settle without anything less than the Local Bodies department arguing that Amarinder had singled him out by giving him a tag of non-performer.
Also, sources had revealed that Amarinder was in no mood to give him his Local Bodies department back as it would have amounted to a CM buckling under a Cabinet colleague’s pressure. Hence, accepting Sidhu’s resignation was inevitable.
Sidhu has been staying away from the political scene in the state. He has not been responding to any calls of his colleagues and media.
With Sidhu’s resignation, the number of ministers has come down to 17 including the chief minister himself. Punjab Vidhan Sabha with a strength of 117 MLAs, is allowed 18 ministers in the Cabinet including the CM.
With Amarinder himself keeping the Power portfolio, hopes of several MLAs lobbying for the post have been dashed to the ground.
Amarinder had already held a meeting of power department after Sidhu had stayed away from assuming charge for over a month and half.
Earlier Power portfolio was with Gurpreet Singh Kangar and after rejig by the CM it was handed over to Sidhu.