A former Punjab Congress chief has criticised his party colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu over "breach of trust", hours after Mr Sidhu resigned as Punjab Congress chief barely two months into the job.
Sunil Jakhar, who was Punjab Congress chief before Mr Sidhu, indicted his colleague of nothing short of outright betrayal by quitting from the post despite the leadership deciding to trust him at a chaotic time for the party's Punjab unit.
"It's just not cricket! What stands compromised in this entire 'episode' is the faith reposed in the (outgoing?) PCC President by the Congress leadership. No amount of grandstanding can justify this breach of trust placing his benefactors in a peculiar predicament," Mr Jakhar tweeted, referring to Pradesh Congress Committee or PCC, a formal term the party uses for its state units.
It's just not cricket ! What stands compromised in this entire 'episode' is the faith reposed in the (outgoing ?) PCC President by the Congress Leadership. No amount of grand standing can justify this breach of trust placing his benefactors in a peculiar predicament.— Sunil Jakhar (@sunilkjakhar) September 28, 2021
Mr Sidhu was among the country's celebrated cricketers before he announced his retirement in 1999. A match fixing scandal in 2000 involving former cricketer Mohammed Azharuddin had put a stain on a generation of cricketers to which Mr Sidhu belonged. Mr Sidhu has often said match-fixing is a treason and fixers should be punished harshly.
The allusion to cricket in the tweet by Mr Jakhar was seen as a swipe at the controversies that brushed past Mr Sidhu, who later joined politics in 2004, when he contested the Lok Sabha election on a BJP ticket and won from Amritsar.
Mr Sidhu's rival and chief critic Captain Amarinder Singh made an even stronger criticism of his younger colleague on Tuesday. "I told you so... he is not a stable man and not fit for the border state of Punjab," tweeted Mr Singh, whose exit as Chief Minister was ascribed to Mr Sidhu.
Mr Sidhu joined Congress ahead of the assembly election in Punjab in 2017. The Congress won the state election then and Mr Singh became the Chief Minister, while Mr Sidhu was made Punjab's Tourism and Local Bodies Minister.
In 2019, Mr Sidhu accused Mr Singh of singling him out for the Congress's poor performance in the Lok Sabha election. Though the Congress won eight out of 13 parliamentary seats in Punjab, it won only 52 overall. Mr Singh hit back at his younger colleague, saying he wanted to replace him as Chief Minister.
In July this year, after much war of words between Mr Sidhu and Mr Singh, the Congress appointed the former cricketer as Punjab Congress chief. Two months later, Mr Singh resigned as Chief Minister and Charanjit Singh Channi took over the top post.
Mr Sidhu's missed opportunity of becoming Chief Minister, something that he was seen to be angling for since 2017 when he joined Congress, could be a factor for his resentment, political analysts say.