Former Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said Navjot Sidhu’s resignation as Punjab Congress chief within two months of taking over the vital post had proved beyond doubt that the cricketer turned politician was an “unstable” man, who could not be relied upon to lead the ruling party, especially in a border state like Punjab.
Terming Sidhu’s resignation as sheer drama, Captain Amarinder said the move suggested that his former cabinet colleague was preparing the ground to quit the Congress and join hands with some other party in the run-up to the state Assembly polls.
“I had been saying all along that this man is unstable and dangerous, and cannot be entrusted with the task of running Punjab,” said Amarinder, adding that Sidhu had also proved to be absolutely incompetent during his stint as a minister in his government.
Amarinder, who arrived in Delhi on a personal visit, told reporters at the airport that Punjab is a sensitive state, sharing over 600 kilometres of border with a hostile Pakistan, and Sidhu’s close links with his cricketer friend, Imran Khan, and ISI chief, Qamar Javed Bajwa, are a serious threat to India’s national security.
He said that by resigning within two months of taking over as the Punjab Congress chief, Navjot had once again exhibited his “shifty” character. “I’ve known this boy since his childhood and he has been a loner and can never be a team player,” said Amarinder, recalling how the cricketer had deserted the Indian team in 1996 in England. “That’s what his real character is”, said the former chief minister.
Describing Sidhu as a “flamboyant” speaker, Amarinder Singh said what he speaks in public meetings or rallies may make people laugh but it’s all froth, with no substance. “People don’t vote for buffoonery”, he said, adding that no one takes him (Sidhu) seriously.
Replying to a question that Sidhu was apparently upset with the inclusion of certain ministers in Charanjit Singh Channi’s cabinet, Amarinder Singh said that the Punjab Congress chief apparently wanted to run the government by remote control. “What nonsense is this! Cabinet formation is the prerogative of the chief minister, so why should Sidhu interfere in it,” he quipped.
On Sidhu’s claim that he was quitting as the party chief on matters of principle, Amarinder quipped, “What principles is he talking about. He’s only making grounds to quit the Congress. You wait and see, he will join hands with some other party very soon”.
Replying to a question, the former minister said that Congress high command should immediately accept Sidhu’s resignation and appoint some competent man in his place. When asked if he would’ve back former Punjab Congress chief, Sunil Jakhar, for the job, Amarinder said, “He (Jakhar) is very competent and had performed exceedingly well as the party chief.”
Scotching speculation that he was in Delhi to meet senior BJP leaders, the former CM said he had come on a personal visit, with the main intent of vacating the Kapurthala House for the new chief minister of Punjab.