Chandigarh: More ministers have joined in blaming Navjot Singh Sidhu for Congress` poor performance in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections in Punjab. Forest Minister Sadhu Singh Dharamsot said Sidh's action during the elections had not only harmed Chief Minister Amarinder Singh but also party President Rahul Gandhi. He said the cricketer-turned-politician should quit if he could not work with the Chief Minister.
Dharamsot's reaction came a day after Amarinder Singh blamed Sidhu`s inept handling of the local government for Congress` debacle in urban areas and said he intended to change his portfolio. The Chief Minister said the urban vote bank had been the backbone of the Congress in the state but Sidhu`s failure to do any development work had hurt the party, which had performed well in the rural areas in these elections.
Asked if the party leadership would agree to a change in Sidhu`s portfolio, Amarinder said he had raised the issue some months ago, but the party decided to take a call on it after the Lok Sabha elections. The Chief Minister said he was confident that both Rahul Gandhi and party leader Priyanka Gandhi would agree to the decision in the interest of the state and the party.
Sidhu hits back at Capt Amarinder
Meanwhile, Sidhu hit back at the Chief Minister for singling him out for the Congress' poor perormance instead of the party taking the collective responsibility. Stating that he was repeatedly being targetted by a group of eight or nine people, Sidhu said that he had never heard that in a government only one person is accused of poor performance. 'But if a finger has been raised, then he (CM) is the Maa-badaulat (the royal way of addressing self in third person with literal meaning that everything here is because of me ). I cannot say anything.'
Sidhu said that till today he had not spoken a word against the Congress leaders and ministers who have blamed him for the party candidate's defeat in Bathinda, for Amritsar rail tragedy, his court case or Kartarpur Sahib corridor. But this time things have gone too far, he said. Instead of collective responsibility, out of 50 departments only my department has been commented upon, he said.
Referring to the local bodies department that he heads as a rudderless ship and headless chicken, Sidhus said that it was he who put together a vision for the performance of the department because of which the Congress had done well in urban areas in the eight constituencies in which it won.