Upset Punjab Minister Sidhu skips work, stays out of reach

Chandigarh: Punjab Minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, who skipped work for nearly 20 days and remained incommunicado to make his displeasure known, now has more cause to be upset, sources close to him said.

Sidhu’s wife Navjot Kaur was denied ticket to the constituency of her choice – Chandigarh. The seat has gone to veteran leader Pawan Bansal as part of the party’s plan to retain the sitting lawmakers in the State.

While no formal announcement has been made about Navjot Kaur, there was a buzz that she might be allotted the coveted Amritsar seat, from where Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had beaten BJP’s Arun Jaitley in the 2014 national elections. The Congress, however, is fielding sitting lawmaker Gurjit Singh Aujla from Amritsar.

Navjot Sidhu had left the BJP after the party had fielded Arun Jaitley from Amritsar. But the Minister, who joined the Congress in the run-up to the Assembly elections, is miffed about not being invited to speak at a rally attended by party chief Rahul Gandhi in Moga, sources said.

Sources close to the Minister said he is also upset that he is not on list of the party’s star campaigners for Chhattisgarh, though he remains in demand for campaigning across the country.

Over the last few months, Sidhu’s troubled relation with boss, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, has taken a turn for the worse following his statements on Pakistan and its Prime Minister Imran Khan. The cricketer-turned-politician has drawn censure across the board for allegedly giving more weight to his friendship with Imran Khan than the nation.

Amarinder Singh had not minced words when last August, Navjot Sidhu was seen hugging the Pakistan army chief during his visit to Islamabad for Imran Khan’s oath-taking ceremony.

Sidhu had also ruffled feathers later in the year, when he attributed the Congress victory in the Chhattisgarh Assembly elections to his campaigning in the State.