Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday said he could not do anything if his Cabinet minister Navjot Singh Sidhu did not want to do his job, reported the Hindustan Times. A day after Sidhu announced he had submitted his resignation letter, Singh asked how “a soldier could refuse a job assigned by the general?”
“There has to be some discipline in the government if it is to function effectively,” Singh said in New Delhi. “The minister should have accepted his new portfolio instead of shunning work in the middle of the crucial paddy season.”
Sidhu was on June 6 stripped of the local bodies and tourism portfolios following a Cabinet meeting he skipped amid a tussle with the chief minister. He was given charge of the department of power and energy sources in the shuffle, but he has not taken charge of it yet. Singh himself chaired meetings of the ministries, according to Hindustan Times.
On June 8, Singh formed eight consultative groups to monitor the state government’s flagship programmes. Sidhu was not named in any group. According to Sidhu’s announcement on Sunday, he submitted his resignation letter to former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on June 10.
On Monday, Sidhu sent his resignation letter to Amarinder Singh as well, he tweeted.
The relationship between Sidhu and Singh has worsened since the General Elections in April and May. Sidhu had backed his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu’s allegation that Singh was responsible for her not getting a Congress ticket from Chandigarh for the Lok Sabha elections. Singh has dismissed the accusation.
After the election results on May 23, the chief minister insinuated that Sidhu’s “damaging remarks” might have led to the party’s defeat in Bathinda. Singh also said that the minister’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.
On Monday, Singh said he would go through the resignation letter and see what was to be done. “I have no issues with him, I had in fact given him a very important portfolio after the reshuffle,” he said, according to ANI. “It was his decision to quit the Cabinet. I have been told that he has sent the letter to my office, will go through it and then see what is to be done.”
He added: “I have never opposed Mrs Sidhu, in fact I was the one who recommended to Rahul ji that she contest from Bathinda. It was Sidhu who said that his wife will not contest from Bathinda but from Chandigarh. So it was not for him to decide this, the party decides these things.”
With many parts of Punjab not receiving adequate rainfall during the crucial paddy season, the power situation is critical and requires day-to-day monitoring, but Sidhu shunned the work, Singh said, according to The Indian Express.