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Navjot Singh Sidhu resigns as Punjab minister

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Sonia | Chandigarh, 14 July : The rift between Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and his Cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu deepened on Sunday, when the latter resigned as Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy Sources.

“I hereby resign as Minister from the Punjab Cabinet,” the former-cricketer-turned politician wrote in his resignation letter. Posting the letter on Twitter, Sidhu tweeted: “My letter to the Congress President Shri. Rahul Gandhi Ji, submitted on 10 June, 2019.”

“Will be sending my resignation to the Chief Minister, Punjab,” Sidhu tweeted after the Chief Minister’s media adviser Raveen Thukral told IANS that the CM office had not received his resignation.

Reacting to the development, Punjab Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa said it was technically wrong of Sidhu to submit his resignation from the Cabinet first to the party President.

Urging Sidhu to reconsider his decision, he said the politician should talk to the Chief Minister and resolve the issues between them. “He is an intelligent man and can contribute a lot to his new department,” he added.

On June 6, Sidhu was divested of the charge of Local Government and Tourism & Cultural Affairs portfolios and given Power and New and Renewable Energy Sources in a Cabinet reshuffle, the first after the Lok Sabha election results.

Barring four, there were changes in the portfolios of all the ministers as a result of the reallocation, which Amarinder Singh said, would help further streamline the governing system and bring more transparency and efficacy to various departments.

However, Sidhu refused to take charge of his new ministry. On June 10, he met Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi and Ahmed Patel in New Delhi and told them that his department had been singled out and publicly blamed for the party’s Lok Sabha poll defeat. He had gone into hibernation since then.

In his absence, Amarinder Singh on July 10 took crucial decisions related to electricity shortage as it was affecting paddy sowing in the state.

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Sidhu allowed to accompany Sikh ‘jatha’ to Pak

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New Delhi, 8 Nov : Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has been allowed by the government to accompany the Sikh ‘jatha’ that will travel to Darbar Sahib Gurudwara in Pakistan via the Kartarpur Corridor on November 9, sources said here on Thursday.

The Ministry of External Affairs has, however, denied Sidhu, a former state minister in Punjab, the permission to travel to Pakistan via Wagah. Pakistan had extended Sidhu the first invitation for the event and had even offered him a visa.

The ‘jatha’ will travel to Darbar Sahib Gurudwara, a holy shrine of the Sikh religious community in Pakistan, using the corridor which will be thrown open for the first time on November 9.

Sidhu had written to the External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar seeking permission to travel to the holy shrine via Attari-Wagah, which would require Pakistan visa. He wrote that if he didn’t “get response to his third letter seeking permission to visit Pakistan, then he will proceed as a devotee on an eligible visa”.

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