DW BUREAU / CHANDIGARH
Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Sunday vacated the official bungalow allotted to him by the Punjab government, a day after his resignation from the state cabinet was accepted by Chief Minister Amarinder Singh.
Sidhu, who has been avoiding the media for more than a month now, once again dodged questions posed by reporters as he vacated the premises here.
“Have vacated the ministerial bungalow, handed it over to the Punjab Government,” Sidhu said in a tweet.
On Saturday, Amarinder Singh had accepted Sidhu’s “one-line” resignation and forwarded it to Punjab Governor V P Singh Badnore who conveyed his acceptance of the same.
The 55-year-old cricketer-turned-politician, who was at loggerheads with Amarinder Singh, was stripped off key portfolios in the cabinet reshuffle on June 6.
The chief minister had divested Sidhu of the Local Government and Tourism and Cultural Affairs Departments and allotted him the power and new and renewable energy portfolio. Apart from Sidhu, the portfolios of other ministers were also changed.
His refusal to assume the charge of the power department for more than a month also came as an “embarrassment” to the Congress as opposition parties attacked the Amarinder Singh-led regime over the issue.
In Sidhu’s absence, Amarinder Singh has been monitoring the power department’s functioning due to the ongoing paddy sowing season and a rising demand for power because of the hot and humid weather in the state.
On July 14, Sidhu had posted on Twitter his June 10 resignation letter addressed to then Congress president Rahul Gandhi, which was sent just four days after his portfolio was changed.
On July 15, Sidhu sent his resignation letter to Amarinder Singh’s official residence here while the chief minister was in Delhi.
While in the national capital, Amarinder Singh had on Tuesday said that he would take a decision after going through the letter’s contents once he reaches Chandigarh.
Earlier this week, Amarinder Singh had said that if Sidhu did not want to do his job, “there is nothing I can do about it”.
The tension between the two had come out in the open in May when Amarinder Singh blamed Sidhu for “inept handling” of the Local Government Department, claiming that it resulted in “poor performance” of the Congress in urban areas in the Lok Sabha polls.
The former cricketer, however, said his department was being “singled out publicly” and asserted that he could not be taken for granted as he had been a “performer throughout”.
Sidhu had quit the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and joined the Congress ahead of the 2017 Punjab assembly polls.