Chandigarh, March 3
As the Congress leadership, including Punjab affairs in charge Harish Rawat, pushes for former Cabinet Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s re-induction into the Cabinet and giving portfolios of his choice, the cricketer-turned-politician upping his ante against the state party leadership during the ongoing Budget session has surprised many. Sidhu has been attending the session daily but is keeping a low profile.
Sidhu’s diatribe comes days after Jalandhar Cantt MLA Pargat Singh questioned the CM over the performance of the Congress government. In political circles, it is being seen as a signal of defiance to the Chief Minister, as he was in no mood to rejoin the Cabinet.
In what appears to be a veiled attack on the state party leadership, Sidhu posted on Twitter on Wednesday, “Jis jung mai badshah ki jan ko khatra na ho, ushe jung nahi rajneeti kehte hain.” Without defining who the ‘badshah’ is, Sidhu has left to people to guess. Yesterday he had tweeted, “Yeh duniya hai janab, mehfil main badnam aur akele main salaam karti hai.”
Yesterday, Sidhu, on his YouTube channel ‘Jittega Punjab’, said there was a need to come back on people’s agenda. He said there was no time for political blame game and diverting attention from real issues.
Hinting out at his detractors, “I am against nobody. I am on Punjab’s side. There needs to be clarity on policy, intention and justice,” he said. In the video on “My stand on budget’, Sidhu maintained that state’s income was going into private pockets.
Without naming anyone, Sidhu is heard saying that public money was being pocketed through frontmen, who were being controlled by someone. Quoting fiscal statistics, Sidhu is heard saying, “In 1997, the debt on the state was Rs 15,250 crore and now, as per the Budget estimates for the current fiscal, it is Rs 2.48 lakh crore. If soft loans against mortgaging of public property are considered, it will touch Rs 3.5 lakh crore. In the budgetary estimates of Rs 88,000 crore in the current fiscal, Rs 67,000 crore was to go into debt servicing.” — TNS