The swearing-in of Captain Amrinder Singh's cabinet while at one hand has left his camp overjoyed, it appeared as a bittersweet for Navjot Singh Sidhu supporters who were hoping that he will become teh Captain's deputy.
Induction of Navjot Singh Sidhu as Cabinet Minister has proved as bursting the bubble of his supporters who were hoping for his appointment as deputy chief minister. Sources close to the party said a faction led by former Punjab Congress chief Pratap Singh Bajwa was in favour of a number two position for Sidhu but the demand automatically got rejected as more senior Congress legislatures secured a victory.
A three-time parliamentarian, Sidhu will be having a third number in the government and has been allotted departments which were being considered insignificant by the opposition and people from his own camp in comparison to others including the ministers of state. While the Minister of State Razia Sultana got the Public Works Department besides Social Security and Women Development ,
Other MoS Aruna Chaudhary has been given independent charge of Education department including Higher Education. Sidhu was neither considered suitable for the Health Department (his wife was Chief Parliamentary Secretary Health) nor for the Rural Development. He has been made a Tourism, Culture and Local Bodies minister.
"Captain has cleverly manipulated the things so that Navjot Singh Sidhu is deprived of the number two position. His wings have been clipped so that his image does not overshadow him or any of his cronies," Chief of Whip, AAP Sukhpal Singh Khaira said.
Sources privy to the information say, senior Congress legislatures were against giving a Deputy Chief Minister's post to Sidhu as he had joined Congress a few days before the elections. They had also expressed their reservations about Sidhu and had conveyed the same to the Captain. Captain in turn had told the party high command that he can accommodate Sidhu by giving him a third position but not as his deputy.
"I have won six assembly elections . It was my right to be at number two," says Brahm Mohindra who will be having a number two position in the government and was once in anti-Captain camp.
Sidhu was not available for a comment but one of his trusted aides Daman Deep Singh told India Today that Sidhu had personally not demanded any post for self but his supporters were hoping that he will be number two in the cabinet.
DEPARTMENTS GIVEN AS PER CHOICE
"No no ...it is wrong .Sidhu had never asked for any position. He was consulted by Captain Amrinder Singh before allotting the portfolio. All the departments given to him are as per his choice. However, it is true that his supporters wanted him to be a Deputy Chief Minister," Daman Deep Singh said.
Insiders say a Punjab Congress faction wanted to project Sidhu as Captain's rival before he contested election but it did not work. Seeking help from Captain's rivals to meet Rahul Gandhi had not gone down well with Captain who played safe during the elections. He proved his mettle by winning 77 seats and then called the shots by sending the demand to create a deputy CM's post to seed.