The tussle between former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and party’s state chief Navjot Singh Sidhu received some fresh steam on Saturday after the latter, only hours after resigning from the top post, said that he will fight “tooth and nail” to stop any move of making Sidhu the new chief minister of the state.
Calling Sidhu an “anti-national…unstable, incompetent man,” the Captain further said that the former is a “security threat” for both Punjab and India. “I cannot allow such a man to destroy us, I will continue to fight the issues that are bad for this state and its people,” the outgoing chief minister said.
Notably, the feud between Singh and Sidhu heads back to 2019 when the latter resigned from the former-led state cabinet after months of infighting inside the system. The Captain was fiercely against Sidhu’s controversial step of hugging Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and also attending the swearing-in ceremony of the country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan.
The solution hardly made any difference as in August two of Sidhu’s advisors – Malvinder S Mali and Pyare Lal Garg, came under fire and received open backlash from the outgoing chief minister of Punjab for their comments on Kashmir and Pakistan, respectively.
The matter reached such a stage that it required the attention of Congress president Sonia Gandhi for which she even formed a committee – led by the former Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. Following discussions, an overhaul occurred in July this year that saw Sidhu becoming the party’s state chief while the Captain continuing in the top post as the chief minister.
While Mali referred to Kashmir as a “land of Kashmiri people,” Garg indirectly criticised the Singh-led state government. “When a government does good work, we appreciate it, but if it does poorly, then also we criticise it,” Garg had said at the time.
This issue later resulted in the resignation of Mali.
Maintaining his stand against Sidhu and his ideologies, Singh on Saturday said that everyone has seen Sidhu “singing praises” for Khan while Indian soldiers were losing their lives at the India-Pakistan border every day. The Captain emphasised that he will fight Sidhu every step of the way if the latter is made the face of Congress for the chief minister’s position in next year’s Assembly elections.
Earlier in the day, Singh said that he “felt humiliated” by the Congress leadership in the previous two months after the MLAs were called to Delhi twice before the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting was summoned today.
Singh was the only Congress MLA to have skipped today’s meeting, which also saw four Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rebels who recently joined the party in attendance. A resolution was also passed in the CLP lauding Singh for his work as the chief minister in the last four-and-half years. The resolution was later seconded by local bodies minister Brahm Mohindra.