‘No issues with him’: Amarinder Singh plays down differences with Navjot Singh Sidhu

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Updated: March 16, 2020 8:28 PM

The 56-year-old Sidhu, who has been at loggerheads with the Punjab CM, was blamed for his "inept handling" of the Local Government Department for the "poor performance" of the Congress in the urban areas during the Lok Sabha polls last year.

Last month, Sidhu had met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Delhi and apprised them of a roadmap for the “revival” of the Congress-ruled state “to its pristine glory”.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday played down his differences with Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, saying he has no issues with the Amritsar MLA and the ex-minister could discuss any matter with anyone in the party. The chief minister’s reply has come two days after the cricketer-turned-politician launched a YouTube channel, describing it as a platform to “propel” Punjab towards “revival and renaissance”.

The 56-year-old Sidhu, who has been at loggerheads with the Punjab CM, was blamed for his “inept handling” of the Local Government Department for the “poor performance” of the Congress in the urban areas during the Lok Sabha polls last year.

In June, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had divested Sidhu of the Local Government and Tourism and Cultural Affairs Departments. He was allotted the power and new and renewable energy portfolio after which he had resigned from the Punjab cabinet.

When asked about the status of the Congress MLA in the party, the chief minister on Monday said he was a Congressman and “we will certainly consider all his wishes” in taking any decision. Amarinder Singh said he had known Sidhu since he was a two-year-old child and had “no personal issues with him”.

To a question about Sidhu meeting the central party leadership on Punjab issues instead of raising these with the state leadership, the CM said, “He is welcome to discuss any issue with anyone in the party.” “If he has anything, which he would like to discuss, he is welcome,” said Singh.

Last month, Sidhu had met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in Delhi and apprised them of a roadmap for the “revival” of the Congress-ruled state “to its pristine glory”.  Commenting on Sidhu’s YouTube channel, Amarinder Singh said, “That is up to anybody. If I want to run a channel who can stop me.”

The chief minister also junked speculations about his candidature in the 2022 assembly elections, saying he will contest the polls. In the 2017 assembly polls, the Congress leader had said that those were his last elections. “I will certainly fight the next elections,” the 78-year-old CM said, adding, “Do you think I am too old to fight the polls.”

In 2018, Singh had said he would not hang up his boots until the state was taken out of the “mess”. In 2019, the scion of the erstwhile Patiala’s royal family had said that he would not quit politics until Punjab’s number one position was “restored” and he might fight the next assembly polls, if needed.

He had then blamed the decade-long rule of the previous SAD-BJP regime for the “sufferings” of people in the state.

The Congress had stormed to power in Punjab under Singh’s leadership by winning 77 of the 117 seats in the 2017 polls.
The chief minister also refused to comment on the political developments in Madhya Pradesh, stressing that it was their internal issue and it was for the Congress national leadership to comment on the matter.

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