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Two weeks after cabinet reshuffle, Sidhu yet to take charge of power ministry

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: June 21, 2019  | 19:00 IST

Chandigarh, Jun 21 (PTI) Two weeks after he was divested of his key portfolios in a cabinet reshuffle, Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu is yet to take charge of the power ministry, said official sources. Meanwhile, a few posters mocking Sidhu surfaced in Mohali Friday. It has been asked in the posters as to when he would "quit politics" as he had said during electioneering in April that he would "quit if Congress president Rahul Gandhi lost from Amethi". "…When are you quitting politics? Time to keep your word. We are waiting for your resignation," read a poster. It remains unclear who put up these posters on a roadside wall. In a cabinet reshuffle on June 6, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had divested Sidhu of the Local Government and Tourism and Cultural Affairs Departments and allotted him the charge of the power and new and renewable energy portfolio. In an apparent snub, Sidhu was also left out of the consultative groups formed by the chief minister two days after the cabinet reshuffle (June 8) to accelerate the implementation of the government's flagship programmes. The Power Department is considered important, particularly in the wake of the ongoing paddy-sowing season when the demand for power goes up. The stalemate between the chief minister and the cricketer-turned-politician Sidhu continues despite the fact that Sidhu had met Congress president Rahul Gandhi and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi on June 10 in New Delhi. Sidhu had reportedly apprised Rahul Gandhi of the situation and had handed over a letter to him. Navjot Singh Sidhu, a former BJP leader who had joined the Congress just ahead of the 2017 Punjab assembly polls, has been at loggerheads with Amarinder for sometime now. Both Sidhu and his wife Navjot Kaur, a former MLA, went incommunicado a day after the portfolio reshuffle. The tension between Amarinder Singh and his cabinet colleague had come out in the open last month when the CM blamed Sidhu for the "inept handling" of the Local Government Department, claiming that it resulted in the "poor performance" of the Congress in urban areas in the Lok Sabha polls. Sidhu, however, had said that his department was "singled out publicly" while asserting that he could not be taken for granted as he had been a "performer throughout". The CM had also said the urban vote-bank had been the backbone of the Congress in Punjab but Sidhu's "failure" in carrying out any development work impacted the party. Earlier, Amarinder Singh had taken umbrage at Sidhu's "friendly match" jibe during electioneering in Bathinda on May 17. Sindhu had allegedly cornered the Congress government in the state over the issue of the desecration of religious texts , questioning why no FIR was lodged against the Badals, who ran the previous government in the state. PTI CHS SUN RDK RDK

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