Chandigarh, May 23 (IANS) Hours after blaming Navjot Singh Sidhu’s inept handling of the Department of Housing and Urban Development for the poor performance of the Congress in the urban areas, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday evening said he intended to change the minister’s portfolio.
In an interview with a news channel, the Chief Minister said the urban vote bank had been the backbone of the Congress in Punjab but Sidhu’s failure to do any development work had impacted the party, which had performed well this time in the rural areas.
Asked if the party leadership would agree to the change in Sidhu’s portfolio, Amarinder Singh said he had raised the issue some months ago, but it had been agreed that a decision should be taken after the Lok Sabha elections.
The Chief Minister said he was confident that not just party President Rahul Gandhi but even Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, would agree in the interest of the state, and to strengthen the party.
The Chief Minister had earlier in the day pointed out that the Congress in Punjab had performed poorly in urban areas, and Sidhu was the minister for urban development.
Asserting that Sidhu had not been able to handle his department, the Chief Minister had made it clear that he intended to take up the issue with the party leadership once things have settled down in the party, post the election results.
Amarinder Singh had also said that Sidhu’s remarks ahead of polling in Punjab might have affected the party’s performance in Bathinda.
He had further said he would soon be taking up with the Congress high command the issue of Sidhu’s controversial remarks on sacrilege issue as well as blaming the Chief Minister for denial of Congress ticket to his wife from Chandigarh.
Referring to Sidhu’s remarks on the investigation into the sacrilege cases, the Chief Minister had said the minister evidently did not understand that the SIT had been set up by the Assembly.
The Chief Minister had also reiterated that Sidhu’s ‘yari and jhappi’ (friendship and hugs) with the Pakistani Army Chief would not be tolerated, especially by Army personnel, who were being killed by ISI-backed terrorists while he was going hugging their leaders.