Sidhu adamant on bigger role in Punjab Congress or govt, CM Amarinder Singh says no

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Sidhu adamant on bigger role in Punjab Congress or govt, CM Amarinder Singh says no

The rift in Punjab Congress continues to widen and now Navjot Singh Sidhu, who was given the power resources ministry, has demanded the state Congress president's post along with it.

The tussle between Punjab Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu and Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh refuses to die down even weeks after the Lok Sabha elections results. Now, Sidhu has apparently demanded the Deputy CM post or the Punjab Congress chief's post along with the power ministry.

While Rahul Gandhi, in a bid to placate the rebelling Sidhu offered him a ministerial berth in the Punjab Cabinet, he is in no mood to settle for anything less.

Sidhu had demanded the deputy CM's post earlier and when Rahul Gandhi rejected the demand, he said that he should be appointed as the Punjab Congress president apart from being the power minister.

The Congress had offered Sidhu an important position in the national leadership of the party but the Punjab leader is adamant to get the state president's role.

According to sources, Sidhu has apparently said that he will only take up the role as a minister after he is given the Punjab Congress chief's post. Sidhu was given the power and new and renewable energy sources portfolios after being relieved of the local government and tourism ministry.

Sidhu has come up with this demand after Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar submitted his resignation immediately after he lost the Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat to BJP candidate Sunny Deol.

Jakhar's resignation as the Punjab Congress president is yet to be accepted by the Congress leadership.

Amarinder Singh, on the other hand, is adamant on retaining Jakhar as the state Congress chief. Sources say he has conveyed his wishes to Rahul Gandhi and has urged him to reject Jakhar's resignation and let him continue.

Navjot Singh Sidhu recently met Rahul Gandhi in Delhi and apprised him of the "situation" in Punjab, days after CM Amarinder Singh divested him of the crucial local government department.

"Met the Congress President, handed him my letter, appraised him of the situation !" Sidhu tweeted.

Sidhu also posted a picture in which he seen along with Rahul Gandhi, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and senior leader Ahmed Patel.

Sidhu had made attempts to meet Rahul Gandhi earlier as well after he was divested of the local government and tourism and cultural affairs departments in a cabinet rejig.

Tension between Singh and Sidhu had come out in the open last month when the chief minister had blamed the cricketer-turned-politician's "inept handling" of the local government department for the "poor performance" of the Congress in the urban areas in the Lok Sabha polls.

The chief minister had also said the urban votebank had been the backbone of the Congress in Punjab but Sidhu's "failure" to do any development work had impacted the party.

After the ministry snub, Sidhu was left out of eight consultative groups formed by the chief minister on Saturday to expedite implementation of the state government's schemes.

Sidhu had said his department had been "singled out publicly" while asserting that he could not be taken for granted as he had been a "performer throughout".