Chandigarh, PUNJAB: The Congress’s performance in Punjab is one of its few consolations amid a near-rout in north India, but chief minister Amarinder Singh is not satisfied. He said on Thursday that cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu, who’s also the state’s local bodies minister, was the reason Congress lost urban seats in the state.
“He is the Local Bodies Minister and was responsible to carry out development in urban areas. We need to assess whether it was the Modi effect or Sidhu was unable to deliver due to which we lost urban seats like Bathinda, Gurdaspur and Hoshiarpur,” said Punjab CM addressing a press conference in Chandigarh.
Clearly perturbed over Sidhu’s remarks that his wife Navjot Kaur Sidhu was speaking the truth when she accused Captain Amarinder for denying a ticket from Amritsar, he said that Sidhu should have waited for a day to speak out his mind against him. “Speaking just a day before the voting in Bathinda may have been the reason behind losing the seat.I will certainly be taking this issue up with the party high command,” said Singh.
Out of Punjab’s 13 Lok Sabha seats, the Congress is leading in 8 while the BJP is ahead in 2 and its alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal in 2.
Congress has lost Bathinda and Gurdaspur (where actor-turned-politician Sunny Deol has defeated state Congress president Sunil Jakhar), both places Sidhu had visited in the last few days of campaigning in Punjab.
The anti-Sidhu camp has demanded a disciplinary action against him for his comment supporting his wife’s claim that Punjab CM and Punjab affairs-in charge Asha Kumari did not grant her a ticket to contest from Amritsar.
While Sidhu was made a star campaigner of Congress, travelling to dozens of constituencies including Amethi, he was not given much opportunity by Congress candidates in Punjab to campaign in their favour.
This is not the first time that Sidhu has locked horns with CM Singh. They have had an uneasy relationship ever since the former cricketer joined the Congress after resigning from the BJP.