Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Monday said if his minister Navjot Singh Sidhu did not want to do his job, there was nothing he could do about it. This came hours after the cricketer-turned-politician sent his resignation to the chief minister on Monday.
“If Sidhu doesn’t want to do the job, there is nothing I can do about it… how could a soldier refuse a job assigned by the General,” said Amarinder Singh. “There has to be some discipline in the government if it is to function effectively,” added the CM.
“The minister should have accepted his new portfolio instead of shunning work in the middle of the crucial Paddy season,” said the CM who has been at loggerheads with Sidhu even since the latter joined. The differences deepened after Sidhu visited Pakistan on PM Imran Khan’s invitation an reached a flashpoint after last month’s reshuffle.
Sidhu was, in the reshuffle, stripped off his portfolios of Local Bodies, Tourism and Culture and was left with only Power ministry, but he had not taken charge. He had sent his resignation to Congress president Rahul Gandhi soon after the reshuffle.
The CM said he did not see any harm in Sidhu sending his papers to the Congress president. “The cabinet was decided in consultation with the Congress high command so it was okay for Sidhu to send his resignation to the party president,” said the Chief Minister. He was talking to reporters at Parliament House after a courtesy call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Sidhu’s resignation, the Chief Minister said he had been informed that the resignation was sent to his residence in Chandigarh but he was yet to see it. He said he would have to read it first to be able to comment on it, he added.
The Chief Minister expressed his unhappiness with the statement issued by Sidhu and his wife regarding the latter’s candidature for the parliamentary elections. He clarified that he had never opposed Mrs. Navjot Sidhu’s candidature and had suggested she should contest from Bathinda, which the couple rejected.
On Rahul Gandhi, the Chief Minister said he would certainly be meeting him. Rahul continued to work for the party, which was not at a standstill, as being projected by the opposition and sections of the media. The work (in the Congress) is going on, with a whole team to lead, said Captain Amarinder.
Captain Amarinder said he had called on the prime minister since he had not met him so far during the latter’s second term. However, he said that he used the opportunity to discuss the 550th birth anniversary celebrations of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji. “The prime minister confirmed his participation in the mega event and assured of all possible help to make the programme a grand success, befitting the historic occasion,” said the Chief Minister.