The furore created by Punjab Local Bodies Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s recent drive against illegal constructions Monday reached AICC president Rahul Gandhi with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh meeting the party president
Although Congress said CM had gone to meet Gandhi to personally greet him in advance on his birthday, sources told The Indian Express that Sidhu’s recent action against illegal constructions in Jalandhar last week and subsequent protests by sitting MLAs in the town had prompted the CM to take the matter to Gandhi.
Amarinder is learnt to have told the Congress chief that Sidhu needed to slow down and his actions were causing embarrassment to the ruling party in the state. Sources added that many party leaders were upset with Sidhu for annoying MLAs, including Rajinder Beri, Sushil Rinku and Avtar Henry Junior, besides the MP from Jalandhar, Chaudhary Santokh Singh. These leaders had complained to the Chief Minister. They had claimed Sidhu’s drive would annoy voters at a time when the government was looking at a policy to regularise illegal constructions.
After a spot inspection, Sidhu had suspended several officials of Jalandhar Municipal Corporation. Later, Rinku protested in Jalandhar against Sidhu’s action. Earlier, Sidhu had raided the house of Patiala Mayor Sanjeev Bittu following a media report that he had allotted tenders for works already done at his official residence. Sidhu went with his team and raided the house.
Soon after, he was confronted at a Cabinet meeting in which the ministers led by Health Minister Brahm Mohindra had stated that Sidhu had created a self-goal by raiding the house of party Mayor in CM’s hometown. Also, he had scrapped the recent recruitment of Shivalik Pharmacy College in Nangal following allegations that all the 48 appointments were given to those linked to Congress leaders. Nangal is a part of Anandpur Sahib Assembly segment, represented by Speaker Rana Kanwarpal Singh.
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