CHANDIGARH: Former Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday ridiculed Navjot Singh Sidhu’s claims of fighting the sand mining mafia, saying the state Congress president had himself led the rebellion against him with the MLAs who were allegedly involved in the activity.
This clearly exposed his own interest in sheltering them, the former CM said according to a statement.
Amarinder Singh was removed as the Punjab chief minister in September last year following a bitter power tussle with Sidhu.
Later, the former CM Amarinder floated the Punjab Lok Congress and now contesting the Assembly polls in alliance with the BJP.
The former Punjab CM said considering that many Congress MLAs whom Sidhu had led in rebellion against him had direct or indirect interest or share in the state’s sand mafia, the ex-cricketer’ president’s credentials in the matter are patently dubious.
This, coupled with the fact that the PPCC president enjoyed hobnobbing with anti-nationals elements, including his close friends in the Pakistan leadership, which had even lobbied for his induction to the state cabinet, had exposed Sidhu’s self-interest and his complete apathy to Punjab’s interests, Amarinder Singh said.
Rejecting Sidhu’s allegation that he had failed to take action against the sand mafia during his tenure as the chief minister, the former CM said not only had he taken all possible administrative steps, he had specifically asked the Congress president for directives for acting against the Congress leaders.
Why he was not given the necessary direction to take such action, asked Amarinder Singh.
The former CM claimed that the Punjab Congress MLAs, about whose ties with the sand mafia he had reported to the Congress president, were in direct touch with the party leadership in the run-up to his removal from chief ministership.
What had shocked him was that instead of taking action against these MLAs, who had the support of Sidhu, the Congress high command had chosen to sack him, said the former chief minister.
Singh said Sidhu’s persistent and unsubstantiated attacks against him even after his departure from the Congress showed how insecure the Punjab Congress chief was.
In his desperation to undermine his political clout and importance in Punjab, Sidhu had even forgotten his own party unit, which was in a state of total disarray with blatant and open infighting, claimed Singh, adding that Sidhu and CM Charanjit Singh Channi are leaving no stone unturned to ensure the wipe-out of the Congress in Punjab.