Amid the ongoing standoff between Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, the latter stayed away from the Cabinet meeting, first after Lok Sabha election.
The Cabinet celebrated the party’s victory in the state in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections as Sidhu addressed media at his official residence and asked: “Why should I attend the meeting when there is a trust deficit in me? My seat in the Cabinet is three inches away from the Chief Minister. If he had expressed distrust in me publicly, where is the point in being seated next to him?”
Sidhu went on to say that his department did not have any agenda in the meeting and hence he decided to stay away, “Had there been an item, I would have been the first to go,” he said.
The minister, whose change in portfolio has already been indicated by Amarinder, once again released his report card saying that Congress had done better in cities than rural areas in the election, without naming Rural Development Minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa.
“Facts will not cease to exist if they are ignored. I live in the space where there is no fear and the head is held high. I am duty bound to the people of Punjab, to bring out what is factually correct. To help put things in the correct perspective, let’s follow the PPCC’s methodology for demarcating seats, out of the total 117 assembly segments in Punjab, 63 are considered as rural while 54 seats are accounted for as urban & semi-urban assembly segments. The recent results for the urban & semi-urban areas were 63 percent, winning 34 out of 54 seats. While in the purely urban assembly segments, we have won 64 percent by winning 16 out of 25 seats. In the rural areas, Congress party bagged 35 out of 63 seats, making it 55 percent,“ he said.
He added that the CM had made him Minister in-charge of two districts including Amritsar and Tarn Taran. Both these districts were won by the Congress. The Congress party this time majorly dented the AAP votes, winning Faridkot, Fatehgarh Sahib and Patiala parliamentary segments which AAP had won last time. AAP won 34 assembly segments in 2014 and now its victory stands in only for 7 assembly segments.
On what would be his reaction if his portfolio is changed, Sidhu said, “No comments.”