- Navjot Sidhu has had a long-running feud with Amarinder Singh
- He had earlier been stripped of key portfolios in a cabinet reshuffle
- He tweeted his resignation letter, dated June 10, sent to Rahul Gandhi
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu, who did not take charge of his new ministry after the cabinet reshuffle in Punjab last month, today said that he has resigned from the state cabinet. He was stripped of key portfolios in the cabinet reshuffle following a public fallout with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
Mr Sidhu tweeted a copy of his resignation letter dated June 10 which he submitted to Rahul Gandhi. "I hereby resign as Minister from the Punjab Cabinet," the 55-year-old leader wrote in the letter.
In another tweet, he wrote: "Will be sending my resignation to the Chief Minister, Punjab (sic)."
My letter to the Congress President Shri. Rahul Gandhi Ji, submitted on 10 June 2019. pic.twitter.com/WS3yYwmnPl— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) July 14, 2019
Last month, amid rift with Amarinder Singh, Mr Sidhu had tweeted pictures with Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi after meeting them in Delhi. "Met the congress President, handed him my letter, appraised him of the situation," he wrote.
Met the congress President, handed him my letter, appraised him of the situation ! pic.twitter.com/ZcLW0rr8r3— Navjot Singh Sidhu (@sherryontopp) June 10, 2019
In the cabinet reshuffle on June 6, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh aka "Captain" took away the Local Government portfolio from Mr Sidhu and assigned him Power and New and Renewable Energy Sources. Mr Sidhu's other portfolio of Tourism and Cultural Affairs was also taken away.
The Congress delivered a relatively better outcome in Punjab in the national elections, where it won eight of 13 Lok Sabha seats.But the feud between Amarinder Singh and Navjot Singh Sidhu was apparent ever since the cricketer-turned-politician accused the Chief Minister of blocking his wife Navjot Kaur's candidature from Amritsar.
On the day of the results, May 23, Amarinder Singh said the Congress failed to do well in urban areas because Mr Sidhu had handled his portfolio poorly. Mr Sidhu then struck back saying that he was being unfairly "singled out" for the party's poll performance.
The Punjab cabinet met for the first time after the election result on June 6 where the reshuffle happened. The chief minister said the changes would "help further streamline the governing system and processes" and bring more transparency and efficacy to various departments.
However, Mr Sidhu went on Facebook Live the same day and said: "I cannot be taken for granted...I have been singled out in spite of collective responsibility."
Mr Sidhu, who was missing in action ever since, was attacked by the rival BJP earlier this month. BJP leader Tarun Chugh wrote to the Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore and said Mr Sidhu was "drawing salary" and "enjoying perks of his office" despite being absent from his office.
Mr Sidhu's resignation is set to add to the Congress's troubles, which faced a crushing defeat in the national elections. The party is already in turmoil in Karnataka and Goa where several party legislators have resigned.
Rahul Gandhi's decision to quit as the Congress chief last month also led to a spate of resignations in the party. Last week, Congress general secretary Jyotiraditya Scindia, a close aide of Rahul Gandhi, and Mumbai unit chief Milind Deora stepped down from their posts.
In a witty tweet today, National Conference's Omar Abdullah reacted to the resignation by Navjot Singh Sidhu saying: "The one state where the Congress is well placed & even here they can't help themselves. Oh to be in the BJP right now with the principal opposition party imploding all around them. (sic)"