Give me freedom to take decisions or face consequences — Navjot Sidhu to party leadership
Amritsar/New Delhi, Aug. 27 (PTI): In what could be seen a dare to the Congress high command, newly appointed Punjab unit president Navjot Singh Sidhu has asked it to allow him the freedom to take decisions or he will give a devastating reply.
Sidhu said he didn’t want to remain just a show horse .
He made the remarks Thursday at a meeting with industrialists and traders in Amritsar, amid the continuing tussle with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh ahead of next year’s assembly polls.
A fallout of the tussle was the resignation Friday of Sidhu’s adviser Malvinder Singh Mali after his controversial remarks on the Kashmir issue.
The party leadership picked the cricketer-turned-politician a few weeks back as the Punjab Congress chief, ignoring opposition from Amarinder Singh. But the two camps in the state Congress have not yet called a truce.
Addressing a trade and industry association, Sidhu said he will ensure that the Congress remains in power in Punjab for the next 20 years.
But if you don’t let me take the decisions, I will also ensure total devastation, Sidhu said in Punjabi, using the term itt naal itt bhi khadkavunga . He added there was no point in being just a show horse (“darshani ghoda”).
Harish Rawat, who is Punjab affairs in-charge at the All India Congress Committee (AICC), appeared to downplay Sidhu’s remarks.
In Delhi, he said state presidents are free to take decisions within the party’s constitution and in accordance with its position.
“I will see the context in which Navjot Singh Sidhu made these remarks. Mr Sidhu is the respected chief of the Punjab unit. Who else has the power to take decisions if not the state presidents?” the AICC general secretary told reporters when asked to comment.
It is not clear if Sidhu’s outburst was in response to Rawat’s recent suggestion that his two media advisers should leave after their controversial comments related to Kashmir and Pakistan, seemingly against the stated position of India and the party.
In Uttarakhand on Thursday, Rawat also confirmed to reporters that he wanted to give up his responsibility as the in-charge of the party’s affairs in Punjab to concentrate on his native state.
Earlier, he said the next elections will be fought under Amarinder Singh’s leadership, delivering a snub to the Sidhu camp.
A majority of Punjab Congress MLAs and eight MPs attended a dinner in Chandigarh on Thursday in an apparent show of strength in support of the CM.
At the beginning of his speech, Sidhu said the people of Amritsar, from where he has been an MP earlier, know him well. Navjot Sidhu believes in the politics of hope and faith, he said.
I have always worked to bring a change in people’s lives, he added.
Sidhu, who switched over to the BJP from the Congress before the 2017 assembly polls, asserted that he has never made compromises on his principles for cheap personal benefits.
He claimed he even refused a ministerial post at the Centre when he was asked to contest from Kurukshetra. He had put his foot down and said, I will die while serving the people of Amritsar.
He said industrialists, rather than bureaucrats, would draft Punjab’s industrial policies.
He said the states can’t grow in the absence of a healthy industry, and batted for a single-window system to set up new ventures and expand the existing ones.
Presently people in Punjab are frustrated with false and hollow promises of politicians, the Congress leader said.
He promised the cancellation of faulty power purchase agreements entered into by Punjab and assured electricity at Rs 3 per unit to domestic consumers.