Sidhu's outbursts against his own govt total indiscipline; he may be leaving for AAP: Amarinder

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Chandigarh, Apr 27 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday slammed Navjot Singh Sidhu for continuously attacking him and his government, calling the Congress leader's outbursts 'total indiscipline' and suggesting that he may be leaving for the AAP.

The Punjab CM also dared the ex-Punjab minister and Amritsar MLA to contest Assembly polls against him from Patiala.

'He (Sidhu) is speaking every day. Has any day passed when he did not speak,' Amamrinder Singh said, adding that Sidhu has no agenda but to attack them.

He does not know in which party he is, the CM said breaking his silence over Sidhu's consistent attacks against the Congress government.

'If he is in the Congress Party, then it is total indiscipline. Why should he utter such things? May be he is trying to go with the AAP…BJP will not take him back. The same thing is with the Akali Dal … where will he go? Either he will stay with us or switch sides,” said the Punjab CM in an interview to a TV channel.

The chief minister’s comments have come in the wake of the Amritsar MLA criticising him and his government over cases related to the desecration of religion texts and subsequent firing incidents at people protesting against it in Punjab’s Faridkot in 2015.

The Congress MLA has been critical of his own government after the Punjab and Haryana High Court quashed a probe report into the Kotkapura firing case earlier this month. He had attacked Amarinder Singh, accusing him of evading responsibility in the case.

To a question on Sidhu's frequent visits to Patiala, the CM said if he wants to contest from Patiala, he is welcome.

The ex-minister will lose his security deposits like former Army chief J J Singh, who contested against him in the 2017 Assembly polls, the chief minister said.

'That is what I am saying he should make it clear where he wants to go. If he is attacking his own chief minister, it means he is preparing to go,' he said.

'If he wanted to go then he should go. Nobody listens to him anymore. Do whatever he wants to do. It is a free country,' he said.

On media reports suggesting Sidhu wanted to be the deputy chief minister or the Punjab Congress chief, the CM said Sunil Jakhar is doing a very good job as the state party president.

He questioned how could a person who joined the party just four years ago be made the state unit chief.

Why should Sidhu be made the deputy chief minister, said Singh while reasoning that all Cabinet ministers were senior to him.

He, however, said the decision on giving any position to Sidhu is to be taken by the party high command.

He said if the party sought his opinion, he would say the same thing.

“Just because you are a speaker and that does not mean you have a right to overtake seniors,” said Singh.

Reacting to the CM’s remarks, Sidhu in a tweet said, 'Efforts to derail Punjab's conscience will fail'.

“My Soul is Punjab and Punjab's Soul is Guru Granth Sahib Ji ... Our fight is for Justice & punishing the guilty, an assembly seat is not even worth discussion in the same breathe !!,” he said.

The tension between Amarinder Singh and Sidhu had come out in the open in May 2019 when the CM blamed the former cricketer for the 'inept handling' of the Local Government Department, claiming it had resulted in 'poor performance' of the Congress in urban areas in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Sidhu was stripped of key portfolios in a cabinet reshuffle, after which he resigned from the state cabinet.

Navjot Singh Sidhu and Amarinder Singh had last month met over tea and at that time, the CM had expressed confidence that Sidhu would be back in his Cabinet.

The Congress central leadership had been trying to rehabilitate Sidhu.

AICC general secretary in-charge of Punjab affairs Harish Rawat had also been pushing for an important position for Sidhu. PTI CHS VSD RDK