What may have triggered Navjot Singh Sidhu’s resignation as Punjab Congress chief | India News

NEW DELHI: On July 23, when Navjot Singh Sidhu took charge as the president of the Punjab Congress, he started his new innings with a huge swish of his arms in a gesture of hitting a six.
And why not?
After all, he had scored a huge victory against Congress veteran Amarinder Singh, who was the Punjab chief minister and yet could not stop Sidhu’s elevation.
On September 20, Sidhu scored another victory when a “humiliated” Amarinder stepped down as the chief minister of the state.

However, Amarinder’s exit did not pave the way for Sidhu’s elevation to the top post as his supporters would have expected.
The Congress instead selected Charanjit Singh Channi as Amarinder’s successor.
When asked whether he would like to be the chief ministerial candidate of the party, Sidhu had then said “it is premature to talk about the issue.”
However, senior Congress leader Harish Rawat, who is also incharge of the party in Punjab, provided a ray of hope to Sidhu when he said the Punjab Congress chief will be the face of the Congress in assembly elections.

It was a hint that Sidhu would eventually get the top post and Channi was, as the opposition called him, “a night watchman.”
But the opposition latched on to Rawat’s statement and the Congress was forced to issue a clarification and say that the assembly elections will be fought under the leadership of both Sidhu and Channi.
While Sidhu’s presence and the stamp of his authority on the developments were visible, it was evident that the state chief wanted complete control over the functioning of the new government that was installed after his sustained campaign against Amarinder Singh.

So, when the time came for Channi to pick his ministers and allot them portfolios, Sidhu was not ready for any compromise.
His resignation letter to Sonia Gandhi did not specify any reasons for the extreme step, but it did give credence to speculations that he was unhappy over the composition of Channi’s cabinet and the allotment of some key portfolios.
“The collapse of a man’s character stems from the compromise corner, I can never compromise on Punjab’s future and the agenda for the welfare of Punjab,” he said in his letter to Sonia Gandhi.
“Therefore, I hereby resign as the president of the Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. Will continue to serve the Congress,” he wrote.
Sidhu, reports said, was unhappy with the allocation of the home portfolio to deputy CM Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa. He was also reportedly upset with the recent appointments of the acting police chief and the state advocate general by the new CM.
What also must have bothered Sidhu is the fact that Channi, who was a surprise choice for the post of CM, had dropped enough hints that he was not a stop gap arrangement.
Channi hit the ground running and made his presence felt.
Sidhu, who is known to be an impulsive politician, would not want a rival power centre in the form of Channi ahead of the assembly elections.
Perhaps this extreme step is a desperate move by Sidhu to bargain hard with the Congress leadership and stamp his authority on the party as well as the government in Punjab.

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