The crisis for the Congress deepened in Punjab as Razia Sultana resigned from the cabinet in solidarity with Navjot Singh Sidhu barely a few days after she took an oath of office. The Malerkotra MLA said that Sidhu was a man of principles and was fighting for Punjab and ‘Punjabiyat.’
She told reporters, “We did not take Amarinder Singh’s resignation. Whatever was done, was done by the high command. I want to repeat it again. Navjot Singh Sidhu ji is a man of principles. He has no greed. He’s fighting for Punjab and Punjabiyat.”
Sultana’s resignation came just hours after Sidhu stunned his party leadership by stepping down as the president of Punjab Congress. Writing to Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Sidhu had said, “The collapse of a man’s character stems from the compromise corner. I can never compromise on Punjab’s future and the agenda for the welfare of Punjab. Therefore, I hereby resign as the President of Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee. I will continue to serve the Congress.”
Sidhu’s resignation came as a huge blow for the Gandhis, who had forced Amarinder Singh to resign as the Punjab chief minister in a bid to strengthen the former’s grip over the party in the state.
Minutes after Sidhu resigned, Amarinder Singh took a jibe by saying that he had warned the Congress leadership about the former. “I told you so…he is not a stable man and not fit for the border state of punjab.”
According to reports, Sidhu was miffed over not being consulted in the appointment of ministers in the new cabinet headed by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi. Some sources say that many more MLAs were planning to publicly express their support for Sidhu in days to come.
The turmoil in the state unit of the Congress could not have come at a worse time given that Punjab goes to polls in early next year. The party had swept the polls in 2017 dislodging the Akali-BJP alliance out of power.