With Punjab Congress jolted by infighting, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has reportedly been trying to get more ministers on his side and speak up against his bête noire Navjot Singh Sidhu to initiate disciplinary action against him by the party high command.
On Wednesday, several ministers sided with the chief minister as they joined the chorus for action against Sidhu. Claiming Sidhu’s ‘provocative’ and targeted attacks on Amarinder Singh over the past several days could be disastrous for the Congress, cabinet ministers Balbir Sidhu, Vijay Inder Singla, Bharat Bhushan Ashu and Gurpreet Singh Kangar, alleged a collusion between Sidhu and state opposition parties such as Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) or Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
It was quite possible, the ministers said in a joint statement, that Sidhu’s targeted attacks on Amarinder Singh were instigated by the AAP or BJP leaders to create problems within the Punjab Congress to further their electoral agenda in the state.
Two days after three of their colleagues launched a counter-offensive against Sidhu, these four ministers said the Congress MLA’s verbal assaults on Amarinder Singh on sacrilege and other issues amounted to open rebellion against the party.
Terming Sidhu’s blatant defiance as an act of total indiscipline, the ministers said such anti-party activities cannot be tolerated by any political establishment, and more so in a state headed for elections. “He should be immediately suspended, if not expelled, as his continued presence in Punjab Congress was creating a mess in the party’s state unit and diverting its attention from the more important task of gearing up for the polls,” they added.
The statements come at a time when reports indicate that even Sidhu was trying to mobilise legislators on the Kotkapura firing issue. Some Congress leaders including some legislators have already expressed concern over the High Court rejecting the SIT probe and constitution of a new probe team. Party sources said that with open infighting, it was the ‘numbers’ both the camps were trying to cobble up to gain political edge with just some months left for elections.
Party sources revealed that Sidhu had been holding ‘backroom consultations’ with his supporters in the party for mobilising more support against the chief minister.