In Indian cricket, players do not just walk out of the team. But in 1996, Navjot Singh Sidhu did just that mid-way during the series in England. Many later said he deserted the team because he felt “persecuted’’ and “rejected”.
But no one knows the exact reason for his behaviour then. Nor is it likely anyone will ever know from him. The reasons are buried far too deep in his heart.
Sidhu stunned the entire political spectrum in Punjab on Tuesday by resigning as PCC president. The move, coming on the heels of portfolios being assigned to the cabinet ministers, many of them his supporters, baffled his political opponents.
Hours after Sidhu’s dramatic exit, state minister Razia Sultana also resigned from CM Channi's cabinet. Speaking to the media, Sultana said, "Sidhu Sahab is a man of principles. He is fighting for Punjab and Punjabiyat."
However, political opponents were less charitable. ‘‘He [Sidhu] is a misguided missile,’’ declared Akali Dal leader Sukhbir Singh Badal. ‘‘He is a human bomb, he will explode wherever he goes,’’ Akali Dal spokesperson Majender Singh Sirsa.
Amarinder, too, had his moment of truth. “I told you so…he is not a stable man and not fit for the border state of Punjab,” Amarinder tweeted with glee.
Following in Sidhu’s footsteps, Punjab Congress treasurer Gulzar Inder Chahal, too, has quit with immediate effect, giving no explanation. Some more resignations may follow.
On the face if it, Sidhu’s exit suggests that within two months of appointment he is preparing the ground for leaving the Congress and join another party ahead of the Punjab assembly polls.
“There are too many theories floating over Sidhu’s resignation. It could be over the selection of ministers and officers, or it could be over a job well done to remove Amarinder and move on to other things; or for foisting a Dalit candidate as chief minister and earning the ire of other communities. Or, over the choice of tainted ministers. We are at sea as everyone else,” a bewildered senior party office-bearer remarked.
According to a close Sidhu aide, the decision to resign was not sudden. Sherry had informed the high command of his decision after the decision to make Channi the chief minister was taken. Only he and the high command know the real reasons of his quitting. He can withdraw his resignation. It is up to him as he has so far not quit the party,” an aide informed.
Congress insulting Punjab, charges AAP
In a late reaction, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab, which has been steadily making inroads into the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP vote banks, reacted sharply to the sudden resignation, stating that Congress leaders were “insulting” Punjab and the people in their chase for the chair.
“Punjab has never been so disgraced. Punjab and the people have been made miserable. The appetite for the chair can embarrass anyone. I pray to god to rid Punjab and Punjabis of these chair-hungry Congressmen,” AAP state president Bhagwant Mann said.
The restoration of Punjab's honour and dignity is in the hands of the people of Punjab. AAP is the only party left in Punjab that the people can trust,” Mann added.
Taking a dig at Sidhu’s resignation letter, Mann said if he felt strongly about the interests of Punjab, he would have resigned when the list of tainted ministers was being prepared. Sukhpal Singh Khaira, who was a signatory to the letter written by six legislators to drop tainted leaders from the list of ministers, made a fervent appeal to Sidhu to reconsider his decision and asked the high command to ponder over the issues raised by him and ensure their redressal.
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