Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday formed eight consultative groups to monitor the state government’s flagship programmes. State minister Navjot Singh Sidhu was not named in any of the eight groups, signalling a widening rift between the chief minister and Sidhu.
Sidhu was on Thursday stripped of the key local bodies portfolio, just hours after he skipped a Cabinet meeting and asserted that he cannot be “taken for granted”. Sidhu has been given charge of the department of power and energy sources, but he is yet to take charge.
Medical Education and Research Minister Om Prakash Soni is also not part of the eight advisory groups, include all other 15 ministers, seven Congress MLAs and senior officials.
Singh will head the groups on urban renewal and reforms, and drug campaign, according to a government press statement. Brahm Mohindra, who replaced Sidhu as local bodies minister, will be part of the panel on urban renewal.
The chief minister had ordered the constitution of the eight “to accelerate the pace of implementation of his government’s flagship programmes”. The groups review and assess the performance of the programmes and their reports would be considered by the Council of Ministers in its meeting next month.
Sidhu has been at receiving end of Singh’s criticism since the General Election results were out on May 23. The chief minister has said Sidhu’s “damaging remarks” may have led to the party’s defeat in the Bathinda seat. Singh also said Sidhu’s performance should be reviewed. In response, Sidhu alleged a nexus between senior Congress leaders and the Badals of the Shiromani Akali Dal. However, he did not name the chief minister in this alleged network.
Sidhu is reportedly in New Delhi to meet Congress President Rahul Gandhi before deciding his next step.