The infighting in the Punjab congress reached a crescendo on Monday when a section of legislators close to Chief Minister Amarinder Singh sought strict disciplinary action against senior leader Navjot Singh Sidhu over his comments on the Kotkapura firing probe verdict. Terming Sidhu’s continued attack on the chief minister as an act of indiscipline and an attempt to undermine the Congress government in Punjab, ministers termed his personal attack on Amarinder an anti-party act.
The cabinet ministers, including, Brahm Mohindra, Sunder Sham Arora and Sadhu Singh Dharamsot, came out in strong criticism of Sidhu’s actions and open criticism of the Congress Chief Minister while being an elected MLA from the same party.
Sidhu’s recent spate of comments against the Chief Minister could no longer be dismissed as the rantings of a disgruntled member of a democratic political party, said the ministers, adding that the open rebellion was damaging the interests of the Congress at a time when Assembly elections in the state were less than a year away.
Failure to take action against Sidhu now could trigger unrest in the party’s state unit, which would be fatal for the party, which had suffered major electoral blows in the recently concluded Assembly polls in five states, the ministers warned.
The ministers said it was more than evident now that Sidhu’s intentions were nefarious and motivated by his vested personal and political interests. It was clear that the MLA, through his blatant accusations and allegations, was trying to fan dissent in the Punjab Congress against Captain Amarinder, who had successfully steered the party to an unprecedented win in 2017 and in every major election in the state thereafter, they added.
Dubbing Sidhu’s aggressive posturing on social media as an attempt by the disgruntled MLA to pressure the high command into succumbing to his ‘unreasonable demands’, the ministers said unless urgent steps were taken by the party, it would ‘encourage other ambitious and rebellious’ members to raise their voice openly against the Congress leadership while continuing to enjoy its patronage.
Pointing out that the chief minister had made several overtures in recent past to resolve any perceived differences on Sidhu’s part, the ministers said it was clear that the latter did not want to be placated but only wanted to score political brownie points to further his personal ambitions.